Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Asian markets rose on Wednesday ahead of the continuation of trade talks between the U.S. and China in Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

World shares advance ahead of US-China trade talks

April 03, 2019 - 2:13 am

SINGAPORE (AP) — Global markets were mostly higher on Wednesday ahead of the resumption of trade talks between the U.S. and China in Washington.

France's CAC 40 added 0.8 percent to 5,464.37 and Germany's DAX climbed 1.4 percent to 11,919.80. Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.2 percent higher at 7,403.73, after Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to reach a compromise.

On Wall Street, the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 percent at 26,261.00. That for the broad S&P 500 index gained 0.5 percent to 2,881.70.

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are due to restart later Wednesday in Washington. Negotiators from the world's two biggest economies are aiming to put to rest a dispute over technology and other issues. They met in Beijing last week.

Both sides have said they were making progress toward a deal, but how close they are getting is unclear.

"There has been so much chatter that U.S.-China trade is in the price and there is obvious merit to that as we have been talking about 'progress' for many months," Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group Limited said in a market commentary.

In Asia, traders cheered a private survey released Wednesday showing that China's services sector expanded in March. China's Caixin Services PMI, a survey of service industry purchasing managers, had a reading of 54.4 in March. This is markedly better than February's reading of 51.1 and the sharpest improvement since January 2018.

The index is on a 100-point scale, with 50 separating contraction from growth. This added to optimism after China released encouraging manufacturing data over the weekend.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index advanced 1 percent to 21,713.21 and South Korea's Kospi added 1.2 percent to 2,203.27. The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.2 percent to 3,216.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also rebounded 1.2 percent to 29,986.39.

The S&P ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.7 percent to 6,285.00. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Singapore but fell in Thailand.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 25 cents to $62.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 99 cents to $62.58 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 46 cents to $69.83 per barrel. It closed 36 cents higher at $69.37 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 111.49 yen from 111.32 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1245 from $1.1205, and the British pound advanced to $1.3170 from $1.3136.