World stocks scale and oil prices remain buoyant during a holiday-shortened week.

By Reuters 

LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks scaled record highs on Friday and oil prices stayed buoyant in a holiday-shortened week, as optimism grew that a U.S.-China trade deal would soon be signed.

Traders returned from their Christmas and Boxing Day break to digest comments from Beijing that it was in close contact with Washington about an initial trade agreement. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump had talked up a signing ceremony for the recently struck phase-one trade deal.

Rising to another record high, European shares were on course for their best year since the financial crisis. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2%, helped by gains in export-heavy German shares .GDAXI. The benchmark index has reached record highs for three sessions in a row.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE, set for its best run in three years, added 0.4%. Mining companies .FTNMX1770 provided the biggest boost, with Glencore Plc (GLEN.L) and BHP Group Plc (BHPB.L) climbing about 2% each.

The positive tone was set in Asia. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 0.8% to 555.39, a level not seen since mid-2018. It is up 15.5% so far this year.

Oil surges

Easing uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the European Union helped sterling gain to a four-day high of 85.17 pence against the euro EURGBP=D3.

The rise was helped by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s saying the EU may need to extend the deadline for talks about a new trade relationship with Britain.

After being battered during 2019 by hedge funds betting on its weakening, the euro EUR=EBS rose on Friday to an eight-day high of $1.1142.

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2019-12-27T16:37:07+00:00

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