Global Shares Gain Ahead of Central Bankers' Summit

By Christopher Whittall and Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stock markets mostly advanced Tuesday, showing further signs of steadying following a recent selloff.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6% in early trade, buoyed by gains in banking stocks, while U.S. futures pointed to a 0.3% opening gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region mostly pushed higher.

The moves follow the largest two-week decline for the Dow and the S&P 500 this year, when a combination of disappointing corporate results, geopolitical tensions and investor concerns over the fate of the White House's policy agenda jolted markets.

The S&P 500 is still up 8.5% this year, but many investors think further gains could be muted absent a surprise uptick in economic growth or company earnings.

"The byword seems to be exhaustion," said Larry Hatheway, global chief economist at Swiss money-manager GAM Holding.

Mr. Hatheway said he expects markets to trade in a range, and to be more volatile, given the lack of upside surprises in global growth and earnings--the two main drivers of the equity rally.

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"There is some loss of momentum," he said.

A rise in the Stoxx Europe 600 Banks subindex, which was up 0.8%, helped push European stocks higher. European banking stocks have climbed this year amid a brightening local economy. But the sector is down 2.4% in August on lower government bond yields, which tend to make banks' lending practices less profitable.

Stock markets were broadly higher across Asia on Tuesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 1.1%, while Korea's Kospi was up 0.4% and China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2%.

In Hong Kong, shares of Great Wall Motor halted trading after the company confirmed its interest in buying Fiat Chrysler's iconic Jeep brand. The Chinese auto maker's stock was up almost 40% so far this year.

In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.1%, as a stronger yen weighed on the exporter-heavy index. The Nikkei has now declined 11 times in 13 trading sessions, cutting its year-to-date gain to 1.4%.

In Australia, mining-company stocks notched strong gains after a solid rise in metal prices in the previous session and good news from heavyweight BHP Billiton. The gains helped drive a 0.4% rebound in the S&P/ASX 200 index.

BHP declared on Tuesday that it would triple its final dividend, joining fellow miners in rewarding shareholders as its fortunes have rebounded with a recovery in commodity prices. It also said it would sell its U.S. shale operations following months of investor pressure. In London trade, shares in BHP rose 2.2%.

Investors were also looking ahead to the Jackson Hole economic symposium later this week. The roster of top central bankers includes Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who will gather at the annual conference that kicks off Thursday.

Investors are watching for further details on the Fed's plans to scale back its balance sheet and clues on when the ECB could trim its asset purchases, which have helped underpin markets in recent years.

"The market continues to wait on policy makers for direction," said Michala Marcussen, global head of economics at Société Générale. "Unless there is fresh guidance forthcoming from ECB President Draghi or from officials at Jackson Hole, markets are likely to keep" their listless trend, she said.

In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.205% from 2.182% on Monday, according to Tradeweb. Yields rise as prices fall. In currencies, the WSJ Dollar Index rose 0.2% after declining slightly on Monday.

In commodity markets, gold prices fell 0.6% to $1,289 an ounce. Brent crude oil prices rose 0.9% to $52.09 a barrel after falling 2% on Monday.

Kosaku Narioka contributed to this article.

Write to Christopher Whittall at christopher.whittall@wsj.com and Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 22, 2017 04:06 ET (08:06 GMT)