A Great Finish to 2019

Today, stocks stalled out near record highs which remain on track to be their best year in a decade. Optimism about the global economy is still at the fore as the U.S. and China continue to improve on trade relations.

The U.S. Equity markets are expected to close today at 1:30 p.m. est and will remain closed on Christmas day.

On Monday all three major stock indices closed at record highs. Senior market analyst of OANDA: Online Forex Trading & Forex Broker said, “this holiday period should be rather calm as trade updates appear very constructive as we near the finalization of the phase-one trade deal next month.”

China shares rose by 0.7% after their government considered more ways to lower corporate financing costs.  They also hinted at “targeted” cuts in banks’ reserve requirement ratio.

On Monday Beijing announced plans to remove import tariffs on goods for next year. Beijing said on Monday that it will reduce tariffs on more than 850 products imported not just from the U.S., but from all its trading partners, beginning in 2020. China’s Finance Ministry will lower import tariffs on 859 types of products with a total value of about $390 billion.

Free-trade agreements are in place with China for Australia, South Korea, Iceland, New Zealand and Pakistan as well as countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“It is meant to increase imports of products facing a relative domestic shortage, or foreign specialty goods for everyday consumption,” said China’s Finance Ministry. Products include, frozen pork, pharmaceuticals, avocados, and semiconductors.

This move will hopefully help China get a shot in the arm of their economy and boost domestic consumption and will also establish Beijing importing more products from the U.S. as part of a commitment in the “phase one” trade deal.

There are still some concerns of the recent run of gains as Korean shares weakening 0.7% with exports in the first 20 days of the month had fallen once again.

MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were flat while its all-country benchmarks closed for Christmas. Shanghai composite gained 0.67% and the Nikkei 225 went up 0.04%. The Heng Seng declined by 0.15%.

European markets finished mixed with their most recent closing prices. FTSE 100 had a gain of 0.11%, while Germany’s DAX was off by 0.13%.

On Monday crude prices were undercut from carry-over of last Friday’s news that Baker Hughes number of active U.S. oil rigs rose by 18 rigs to 685 rigs.

https://money.cnn.com/data/world_markets/americas/

https://www.barrons.com/articles/china-will-cut-tariffs-in-2020-the-trade-deal-isnt-the-only-reason-51577128671

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/futures-muted-as-indexes-hover-near-record-highs-idUSKBN1YS0WD

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/24/reuters-america-global-markets-festive-world-markets-pause-for-breath-near-record-highs.html

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