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European markets mostly higher on trade deal euphoria

European markets mostly higher on trade deal euphoria

Logo of the London Stock Exchange

LONDON: Stock markets mostly moved higher on Wednesday (Aug 29) as Canada expressed optimism as it rejoined talks on updating the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she is "optimistic" they can make progress this week on revising the 25-year-old trade deal.

Stocks have jumped higher this week on news that the United States and Mexico had resolved their differences on the pact and now Canada is rejoining the talks.

"Equities are largely positive as traders are hopeful that trade talks with Canada will go well," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

"Investment sentiment was driven higher by the new agreement with Mexico, and now the focus is on Canada as they are the last piece of the puzzle," he added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ moved further into record territory.

Also helping sentiment was the Commerce Department revising up its estimate of growth of the US economy in the second quarter, by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 per cent, with new numbers showing a bigger boost in corporate spending.

In Europe, markets were also affected by the European Union's top negotiator saying the bloc is willing to strike an "ambitious" deal with post-Brexit Britain far beyond any agreements made with other countries in the past.

The main stock indices in Paris and Frankfurt both flipped higher after the announcement and closed the day 0.3 per cent higher.

The pound spiked higher, gaining over one cent to climb over US$1.30. But as a stronger pound depresses earnings of many London-listed firms who make most of their sales abroad, the FTSE-100 ended the day 0.7 per cent lower.

"Strength in the pound, despite reports an October deadline for Brexit divorce talks is dissolving into a November deadline, saw FTSE 100 shares back off from a two-week high," said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group.

Meanwhile, the Turkish lira tumbled to its lowest value against the US dollar in two weeks, despite Ankara's attempts to reassure investors after Moody's downgraded its credit ratings on 20 Turkish financial institutions.

The lira was trading at 6.44 to the dollar around 1530 GMT, a drop of around 2.6 on the day. It fell by a similar amount against the euro, trading at 7.54 to one euro.

Lawler noted that Turkish bank shares fell alongside the lira on the Moody's rating action.

"It is going to be increasingly difficult to get business done in Turkey under US sanctions and banks are the obvious pressure point in markets," he said.

Key figures around 1530 GMT:


New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.4 per cent at 26,156.48 points

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7 per cent at 7,563.21 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 per cent at 12,561.68 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 per cent at 5,501.33 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 per cent at 3,456.56


Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 per cent at 22,848.22 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 per cent at 28,416.44 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 2,769.29 (close)


Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1696 from US$1.1698 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3006 from US$1.2896

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.77 yen from 111.07 yen


Oil - Brent Crude: UP 54 cents at US$76.49 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 69 cents at US$69.22 per barrel

Source: AFP/de


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