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Risk appetites edge higher

Cautious optimism informed overnight trading as further indications of willingness on global trade buoyed sentiment. The US dollar rose, bonds fell and shares rallied for a second session. The updraft faltered early in the North American session after US senator Rubio flagged a possible new tax on share buybacks, but President Trump managed to tweet the markets off their lows.

China / US trade negotiations remain the key issue for the global economy. Investors appeared to take comfort from indications that both sides recognise solutions will require time and effort, and are willing to defer damaging tariffs to allow room for what may be protracted discussions.

Oil prices defied another US inventory build to record a 1.6% gain. The rise is all the more curious in light of the pressure this puts on OPEC, as accompanying data showed US production remains at all-time highs. If OPEC doesn’t cut output prices may tumble, and if it does, US producers may grab market share

Another full day of company reports will keep Australian investors busy. Sixteen top two hundred companies report their half or full year results today, and once again early indications are for disappointment. Yesterday the Australia 200 index confounded positive international leads to close lower, and a similar risk exists today, subject to further releases.

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