The enthusiasm in the market is mostly based on the expectation that global growth would slowly begin to accelerate, Prudential strategist Quincy Krosby said
World stocks on Tuesday closed out a notably profitable year, with Wall Street recording its best annual performances since 2013, boosted by hopes for a US-China trade deal.
New York rallied into the close, turning positive for the day and leaving the broad-based S&P 500 and tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite up 29 percent and 35 percent respectively for last year, the best showings in six years.
Key European markets showed increases of 25 percent or more for last year, partly thanks to late surges on receding recession fears and easing China-US trade tensions.
However, Brexit-hit London trailed its peers with a 12 percent annual rise, less than half the percentage increase managed by Paris, Frankfurt and Milan.
Earlier on Tuesday as US markets were about to open, US President Donald Trump tweeted that a partial trade deal with China would be signed in Washington on Jan. 15, ending some of the uncertainty about efforts to cement the deal announced early last month.
Prudential Financial Inc market strategist Quincy Krosby told reporters that the US-China detente could help decide the direction of the global economy next year.
Much of the enthusiasm in the market is based on the idea that global growth is going to begin to accelerate, albeit slowly, she said. The question will be: Do we actually see positive growth, especially in China?
Demand in China is crucial to chances for growth in global trade, while a China trade agreement could see US corporations begin investing again after a year when corporate capital spending stagnated worryingly, Krosby said.
Asian stock markets closed mainly lower on Tuesday, with Hong Kongs Hang Seng Index ending a half-day of trading almost 0.5 percent down, although it rallied more than 7 percent last month. Tokyo was shut for a public holiday.
While market volumes are predictably light, investors continue to strike a year-end cautionary tone as December optimism is gradually giving way to 2020s uncertainty, AxiTrader Ltd chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said in a client note.
Asian investors were also watching for significant policy announcements early in the New Year.
In a New Years speech yesterday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un struck a decisively militaristic tone, warning of a new strategic weapon and shocking action.
Analysts said all eyes were on nuclear-armed Pyongyangs threat of a new way after its end-of-year deadline for sanctions relief from the US expired.
An address by Chinese President Xi Jinping () would be followed closely.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, oil prices slid, despite reports that Iran had seized a vessel suspected of smuggling fuel near the Strait of Hormuz a chokepoint for one-third of the worlds seaborne oil.
Over the year, the price of Brent North Sea crude jumped by almost one-quarter and the New York benchmark contract West Texas Intermediate soared more than one-third in value, helped by tighter supply.
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