Global stocks rise on expectations US will hold off on auto tariffs

The auto industry would be among the hardest-hit sectors under the new tariffs on Mexico announced by President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/Justin SULLIVAN)

Global stocks gained Wednesday after the US sent more conciliatory messages on trade, offsetting lackluster economic data from the world's biggest economy.

Industry sources told AFP that US President Donald Trump was planning to delay imposing tariffs on auto imports while the United States pursues agreements with key trading partners.

European and US markets that had been in negative territory suddenly jumped higher, with German auto manufacturers among those posting strong advances. US auto giants General Motors and Ford also gained.

Wall Street "has shown a propensity to bounce on any positive-sounding trade headline, and today was no different," said Briefing.com.

Adding to the market's hopes, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a Senate panel that Washington was close to resolving its differences with Mexico and Canada over steel and aluminum tariffs that have created friction among the trading partners.

Mnuchin also repeated his expectation that US negotiators would return to Beijing to pursue stalled talks aimed at resolving the US-China trade war.

"These developments helped assuage investors that the US would not be distracted in its trade talks with China by also having to deal with other tariff disputes," said Briefing.com.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent, with the more hopeful tone on trade offsetting lackluster April retail sales data and weak industrial output data.

Earlier, bourses in Europe and Asia pushed higher.

Oil prices advanced following US data showing a drop in gasoline inventories.

The International Energy Agency confirmed that the world's oil supply fell last month as US sanctions on Iran tightened and OPEC+ members produced less crude in line with their pact.

Among individual companies, Google parent Alphabet jumped 3.9 percent, unveiling new promotional formats as it competes with Amazon and Facebook for advertising dollars.

Other large tech shares were also solidly higher, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix, all of which rose more than one percent.

- Key figures around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 25,648.02 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,850.96 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.1 percent at 7,822.15 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,296.95 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 12,099.57 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,374.26 (close)

EURO STOXX 50 - UP 0.6 percent at 3,385.78 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 21,188.56 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 28,268.71 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.9 percent at 2,938.68 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1200 from $1.1204 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2840 from $1.2905

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.58 yen from 109.61 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP 53 cents at $71.77 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 24 cents at $62.02 per barrel

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