In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.6 percent with most sectors in positive territory. Autos and technology were the best performing sectors on the back of the trade talks between Beijing and Washington. U.K. house-builders traded higher following a trading update by Taylor Wimpey. The company said that it sees solid sales in 2019. The stock rose as much as 5.4 percent. Persimmon was up by 3.2 percent and Barratt Developments rose more than 2 percent.

 

In Currency Markets sterling rose on Wednesday following a media report that British Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to win over the Northern Irish DUP party in a crucial vote next week on her Brexit deal. The pound jumped to a day’s high of $1.2777 before losing ground when the DUP called May’s plans to offer concessions on provisions on Ireland’s post-Brexit border “meaningless”. Against the euro, the pound rose 0.2 percent to a day’s high of 89.76 pence. Sterling’s relative strength in recent days is mostly down to dollar weakness as well.

 

In Commodities Markets oil prices jumped more than 2 percent on Wednesday as the extension of U.S.-China talks raised hopes of easing trade tensions between the two superpowers, but gains were capped by signs of rising U.S. refined product supply. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.38 to $51.16 a barrel, a 2.8 percent gain, the first time this year that WTI has topped $50. Brent crude futures gained $1.34, or 2.3 percent, to $60.06 a barrel. Crude inventories fell by 1.7 million barrels, smaller than the 2.8 million-barrel draw analysts had expected.

 

In US Equity Markets stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, as gains in energy and technology stocks added to optimism over signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The S&P technology index rose 1.07 percent, boosted by Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and chip-makers.  The S&P 500 was up 0.43 percent, at 2,585.46 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.63 percent, at 6,940.77. Booking Holdings Inc fell 2.5 percent after two brokerages downgraded the online travel company and warned of higher costs from increasing competition.

 

In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose to their highest this year on Wednesday as optimism that the United States would reach a trade deal with China boosted risk appetite, and before the Treasury Department was due to sell a new 10-year supply. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 7/32 in price to yield 2.740 percent after earlier rising to 2.747 percent, the highest since Dec. 28. The Treasury Department will sell $24 billion in 10-year notes on Wednesday, the second sale of $78 billion in coupon-bearing supply this week.

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