U.S. and Chinese envoys are set to meet in Shanghai next week for talks aimed at ending a tariff war. China's Ministry of Commerce said that Chinese companies are willing to import more U.S. farm goods.
That announcement followed President Donald Trump's criticism that Beijing was backsliding on a promise to narrow its trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American farm products. "Investors continue to digest green shoots of upcoming U.S.-China trade talks amid persisting anxiety about the likely turn economic policies in the developed world (will) take. The ECB failed to deliver any easing yesterday and the focus now shifts to the Fed policy," Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal, analysts at ING, wrote in their report.
The Fed is expected to cuts its key interest rate next week, after the European Central Bank this week held off, but signaled it was likely to ease its monetary policy in coming weeks or months. Earlier, shares fell in most of Asia. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 0.5% to finish at 21,658.15. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 6,793.40, while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,066.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.7% to 28,397.74. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.2% to 2,944.54. India's Sensex edged 0.1% higher to 37,867.30.
U.S. markets are also looking to more company earnings, which have so far largely disappointed forecasts. More than 36% of S&P 500 companies have reported their latest financial results and investors are still expecting a contraction in overall profit. That would mark the second quarter in a row of lower earnings.
ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil gained 42 cents to $56.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 14 cents to settle at $56.02 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 33 cents to $63.59 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.67 Japanese yen from 108.63 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1135 from $1.1149.