Visitors stand in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, March 15, 2019. Shares were higher Friday in Asia after a day of lackluster trading on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

World shares gain as investors await news on China-US trade

March 15, 2019 - 5:45 am

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares rose Friday in Europe and Asia after a day of lackluster trading on Wall Street.

Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.5 percent after Parliament voted, following weeks of political gridlock, to try to delay the United Kingdom's split from the European Union, a move that will likely avert a chaotic withdrawal on the scheduled exit date of March 29.

Power to approve or reject the extension lies with the EU, which has signaled that it will only allow a delay if Britain either approves a divorce deal or makes a fundamental shift in its approach to Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to ask EU leaders for an extension at a March 21-22 summit of the bloc in Brussels.

Germany's DAX edged 0.1 percent higher to 11,596.98 and the CAC 40 in France added 0.2 percent to 5358.27. Wall Street looked set for gains, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2 percent at 25,800 and that for the S&P 500 also up 0.2 percent, at 2,818.00.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 0.8 percent to 21,450.85 as the Bank of Japan ended a policy meeting by keeping its key interest rate at minus 0.1 percent, maintaining its stance of extreme monetary easing and lavish stimulus.

Chinese shares surged as the annual session of its ceremonial congress ended with Premier Li Keqiang pledging support for the slowing economy.

Li said the country would cut fees and taxes, delivering help worth almost 2 trillion yen (about $300 billion) to companies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"We are going to cut value-added tax rates for manufacturing and other basic sectors, as well as for small and medium-sized companies, the largest providers of jobs in our country, in a meaningful way," Xinhua quoted him as saying.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.0 percent to 3,021.75 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent to 29,012.26.

Investors are still waiting for some more news on U.S.-China trade negotiations.

A report by Bloomberg said a possible summit meeting of President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had been pushed back to April and that it would be clear if a deal could be reached on their dispute over Beijing's industrial strategies and other issues within several weeks.

ELSEWHERE IN ASIA: South Korea's Kospi advanced 1.0 percent to 2,176.11, while the S&P ASX 200 of Australia slipped 0.1 percent to 6,175.20. India's Sensex surged 0.1 percent to 378,148.16. Shares rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia but fell in Thailand.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged higher to 111.71 Japanese yen from 111.70 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1324 from $1.1304.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil added 30 cents to $58.91 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 0.6 percent Thursday to settle at $58.61 a barrel. Brent crude, used as an international standard, picked up 41 cents, to $67.64 per barrel.

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