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Global stocks rally amid fresh hopes on US-China trade

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Global stocks were higher on Wednesday on signs of progress in the long-running trade dispute between the Washington and Beijing.

Wall Street was higher, with the S&P 500, which had pared back its early gains to be up just 0.5 per cent, recovering some ground to trade 0.9 per cent higher ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting. The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 1 per cent.

The picture was also brighter in Europe at the close of trade, with the Stoxx 600 gaining 0.4 per cent and the FTSE 100 up 0.3 per cent. Frankfurt’s Dax advanced 1 per cent.

The results came as Chinese officials offered to increase annual purchases of US agricultural products as they sought an interim trade agreement with Washington.

The move preceded a meeting between Liu He, China’s vice premier and Beijing’s lead negotiator, with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin that starts on Thursday in Washington.

If discussions go well, Mr Liu is expected to meet US president Donald Trump on Friday.

Earlier this week the US administration added 28 Chinese entities to a blacklist and imposed visa restrictions on government officials connected to the mass detention of Uighurs in western China, in what was perceived to be an escalation between the world’s two largest economies ahead of the talks. The visa announcement on Tuesday triggered a late sell-off for US stocks.

Elsewhere in markets, Treasuries weakened somewhat, with the yield on the US 10-year note up 4.5 basis points to 1.5836 per cent.

The Turkish lira was under pressure after Turkey launched air strikes in northern Syria, leaving the dollar at TL5.87.

The Japanese yen fell against the dollar, suggesting no sign that the offensive was stirring demand for haven assets.

Top markets stories

Markets Briefing is a concise look at global markets, updated throughout the trading day by Financial Times journalists in Hong Kong, New York and London. Feedback? Write in the comments below or send us an email.



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Lagarde Says U.S. Is at Risk of Losing Global Leader Role

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Christine Lagarde,

the departing head of the International Monetary Fund who is set to take over as president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview that the U.S. risks diminishing its role as a global leader and warned of dire consequences of its trade war with China.

“I was brought up as a citizen of this world. The risk I see is that the United States is at risk of losing leadership. And that would be just a terrible development,” Ms. Lagarde said in a “60 Minutes” program that aired Sunday.

Ms. Lagarde also warned President Trump against pushing the Federal Reserve for lower interest rates because it could spur inflation. “When the unemployment rate is at 3.7%, you don’t want to accelerate that too much by lowering interest rates,” she said. “Because the risk you take is that then prices begin to go up. You have to be very careful. You know, it’s like navigating a plane.”

She said she would tell Mr. Trump: “Market stability should not be the subject of a tweet here or a tweet there. It requires consideration, thinking, quiet and measured and rational decisions.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Lagarde, who made the comments in interviews in September, said the U.S. has been a force for good, fostering the principles of rule of law, democracy, free markets and respect for the individual.

She urged policy makers to work to end the trade war between the U.S. and China, which she said is seriously affecting the global economy. “If you shave off, you know, almost a percentage point of growth that means less investment, less jobs, more unemployment, reduced growth.”

Finance ministers and central bankers who gathered in Washington for the IMF’s fall meetings this past week said the biggest risks to the global economy are trade-related uncertainties. Global economic growth has shrunk this year to its slowest pace since the 2009 recession, the IMF said.

Ms. Lagarde, in the interview, lamented both the U.S. and the U.K.’s retreat from international ties, saying that the U.K.’s attempt to leave the European Union in particular has caused her “great sadness.”

“International trade, connections, movement of people and movement of capital has taken hundreds of millions out of poverty. Now, some people in the advanced economies might say, ‘Pooh. What do I care?’” she said.

She added: “What can walls do about pandemics? What can walls do about terrorism? What can walls do about climate change and destruction of the environment? This is not the answer to the global questions and issues that interconnect, whether we like it or not.”

Write to Kate O’Keeffe at kathryn.okeeffe@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Geoengineering Crop Losses & China's Substitution for Edible Oil (902)

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AI, digital marketing key skills to boost growth, IT News, ET CIO

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New Delhi, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), digital marketing and design thinking are the top skills that organisations will need to focus on to drive future growth, according to a new study.

Despite the increased awareness around upskilling, the survey by ed-tech company Great Learning found that 47 per cent of the companies surveyed have still not assigned budgets for upskilling their workforce.

“The technology skill gap among employees is one of the biggest challenges that organisations in India are beset with,” Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“Skilled employees will continue to be the biggest asset for any organization going ahead and while options like lateral hiring and outsourcing may help in the short term, from a cost and effectiveness point of view, upskilling is the best way to stay competitive in the long run,” Nair said.

As per the survey, that involved more than 300 companies ranging from small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to large organisations, 25 per cent of all companies believe AI and ML are the most crucial skills needed to ensure an organisation’s future growth.

Digital marketing emerged second with 19 per cent finding it most crucial. It was followed by design thinking, which 10 per cent of companies indicated as most important.

Apart from these, skills related to Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), and natural language processing/generation (NLP/NLG) emerged as important skills in responses from the surveyed organisations.





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