Global market report - March 29 2019

World markets look set to end the quarter on a positive note as US-China trade talks resume

James Gard 29 March, 2019 | 7:00PM
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North America

US futures are set to rise on Friday on the last trading day of the first quarter, helped by gains in Asia and Europe after trade talks got back on track.

The S&P 500 is up around 300 points since the start of the year and opens today at 2,815 points; similarly the Dow Jones has risen from 23,346 points to around 25,700 today.

Canadian GDP for January is due today: the forecast is for a gain of 1.5% on the same month a year ago, and up from the 1.1% gain in December.

US PCE data is also due an hour before the open on Friday. Non-farm payroll numbers are due next Friday, and they should give a further indication that the US economy is slackening in its growth rate.

In economics, US retail sales are in view today and Canadian inflation numbers are released on Friday.


UK GDP for the fourth quarter was revised up today for the final estimate: the economy grew by 1.4% year on year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The upgrade failed to lift the pound, which has sagged to $1.30 as the Brexit impasse overshadows everything. The UK currency started the month at $1.33 but has since lost ground. Still, this political deadlock has helped equity investors in March, with the FTSE 100 nudging up 200 points to around 7,261 points today.

A further vote is expected this afternoon on the withdrawal agreement but not the political declaration attached to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

European stock indices are broadly higher but gains are relatively modest.


China was the standout world market today as it closed the quarter with a 3%+ rise in the Shanghai Composite Index. The closely watched index, which broke through 3,000 points this month, is up over 25% this quarter. One of the triggers of the rally was a resumption of trade talks between the US and China.

Hong Kong and Japanese markets posted decent gains.

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James Gard

James Gard  James Gard is senior editor for


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