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Global stocks follow Wall Street higher

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    A currency trader watches the computer monitors near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday. Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday after President Donald Trump downplayed his escalating tariff war with Beijing and said a settlement is possible.

    LEE JIN-MAN / AP

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BEIJING — Most global stock markets followed Wall Street higher Wednesday after President Donald Trump downplayed his escalating tariff war with Beijing and said a settlement is possible.

Benchmarks in London, Shanghai and Tokyo advanced as investors tried to figure out the costs of U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods.

Trump said on Twitter the conflict over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus was a “little squabble” between friends. He said, “When the time is right we will make a deal with China.”

Global equities rallied on that “positive tone,” Edward Moya of OANDA said in a report.

Despite no sign of a deal or a date for more talks, “no escalation in tensions was good enough of a reason for investors to return to buying stocks,” said Moya.

In early trading, London's FTSE 100 gained 0.2% to 7,254.07. The Shanghai Composite Index ended up 1.9% at 2,938.68 while Tokyo's Nikkei advanced 0.6% to 21,188.56.

On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average were up less than 0.1%

France's CAC 40 shed 0.4% to 5,321.27 and Germany's DAX lost 0.2% to 11,974.15.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.5% to 28,268.71 and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.5% to 2,092.78. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.7% higher at 6,284.20 while India's Sensex gained 0.3% to 37,437.01.

Taiwan and New Zealand advanced while Southeast Asian markets retreated.

Trump threw financial markets into turmoil with his surprise May 5 announcement of plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. When that went ahead Friday, Beijing retaliated by raising duties on $60 billion of American goods.

Investors worry that in addition to depressing trade, the fight sparked by U.S. complaints about China's technology ambitions might hurt consumer and business confidence, depressing spending and investment.

On Wall Street, tech stocks led the way higher Tuesday after suffering a beating the previous day. Qualcomm and Cisco both rose, along with Oracle, Adobe and others. Banks also rose. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and others moved higher.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.8%. It recovered nearly a third of Monday's loss and would now need to rise 3.9% to regain the record it set a couple weeks ago.

The Dow rose 0.8% and the Nasdaq composite index jumped 1.1%.

CHINA ECONOMY: China's April factory output and consumer spending weakened as a tariff war with Washington intensified. The data prompted suggestions Beijing will need to prop up economic growth with more government spending. Growth in factory output decelerated to 5.4% over a year earlier from March's 8.5% growth. Growth in retail sales declined to 7.2% over a year ago from the previous month's 8.7%.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 64 cents to $61.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 74 cents on Tuesday to close at $61.78. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 56 cents per barrel in London to $70.68. It jumped $1.01 the previous session to $71.24.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 109.63 yen from Tuesday's 109.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.1209 from $1.1208.



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