Stocks rise amid brighter Brexit outlook, trade tensions

Global stock markets mostly rose Monday as the British government appeared to turn toward a more trade-friendly version of Brexit and as investors monitored the escalating trade standoff between the U.S. and China.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 5,402, while Germany's DAX added 0.2 percent to 12,520. Britain's FTSE 100 was also higher at 7,646, up 0.4 percent. U.S. shares were also set for gains, with Dow futures up 0.5 percent and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.4 percent.

BREXIT: A cabinet meeting held Friday by Prime Minister Theresa May yielded a Brexit plan that favors closer trade ties with the European Union. The plan would create a partial free trade zone, though it would mean Britain would adopt some EU rules and standards. Pro-Brexit politicians in her Conservative party have resisted such a compromise and the head of the Brexit negotiations resigned overnight Sunday. The prospect of the softer approach to Brexit saw British stocks rise and the pound gain 0.4 percent to $1.3334.

TRADE WAR: There were few developments over the weekend after Washington put a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports Friday and Beijing retaliated with taxes on an equal amount of U.S. products, including soybeans, pork and electric cars. The full impact of the measures may not be felt for some time, and there was little immediate reaction from investors who have known for weeks that the tariffs were due to take effect.

THE QUOTE: "The absence of further escalation as of yet offers Asian equity markets a further reprieve with upsides expected at the start of the week, though one would reckon the playoffs for the rest of the week remain dependent on the developments of the U.S.-China trade tensions," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

XIAOMI'S DEBUT: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.'s shares slipped and then rebounded Monday in its trading debut in Hong Kong following a multibillion-dollar initial public offering. Trading opened at 16.60 Hong Kong dollars, below Xiaomi's offering price of 17 Hong Kong dollars. It fell about 4 percent in early trading but ended higher at 16.80 Hong Kong dollars ($1.98).

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.2 percent to finish at 22,052.18. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 6,286.00, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,285.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.3 percent to 28,688.50, while the Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.5 percent to 2,815.11. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 18 cents to $73.62 a barrel. It gained 86 cents to settle at $73.80 per barrel in New York late Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 65 cents to $77.76 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell slightly to 110.43 yen from 110.61 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro strengthened to $1.1770 from $1.1746.


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