US stocks edge to records as holiday season hopes offset trade questions

Another day, another chance to place trade talk bets

Wall Street stocks edged to new records on Monday amid optimism over the upcoming holiday shopping season, while European bourses mostly dipped on lingering anxiety over trade talks.

The session in the US was choppy as investors grappled with reports that Chinese officials are intent on staking a "phase one" US-China trade deal on the removal of some tariffs, a condition opposed by the Trump administration.

Those reports raised fresh doubts about another possible hurdle to the long-awaited US-China trade fight that has weighed on markets for more than a year.

But investors remain fairly upbeat about consumer sentiment following recent sales data as the market looks ahead to "Black Friday," the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, analysts said.

"Part of the kickoff to the holiday season probably has been enhanced by cold weather in the Northeast," said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors, noting that "people seem to be willing to spend."

"That's 70 percent of the economy and that drives earnings. That's what the market is gonna be focused on in the long run."

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all finished with slight gains to add to Friday's records.

European markets retreated amid uncertainty over trade.

"Stocks are in the red heading into the close after it was reported the mood in Beijing in relation to a deal is ‘pessimistic’," said David Madden, market analyst at trading firm CMC Markets UK.

"It is believed that China are not happy that President Trump is not interested in rolling back on tariffs," he added.

"It is likely that this is a ploy by China, but for now dealers are keen to adopt a more risk-off approach," said Madden.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong stocks rallied after last week's hefty losses but investors remain on edge over violent protests that have wracked the city. Elsewhere, Asian equities diverged.

In foreign exchange markets, the pound extended gains on opinion polls showing a big lead for the ruling Conservative party ahead of next month's general election, with traders hoping a clear victory will help Prime Minister Boris Johnson push through his Brexit deal.

Shares in Madrid stock exchange operator BME, meanwhile, rose nearly 38 percent at 35.04 euros, in reaction to a bid by Swiss exchange SIX valuing BME at 34 euros per share.

The premium over the offer price reflected investor sentiment that Euronext, which earlier said it was talking to BME about a takeover, might swoop in with a hostile counter-offer.

Beauty products giant Coty jumped 2.6 percent after announcing a deal to pay $600 million for a majority stake in Kylie Jenner's cosmetics and skincare company.

- Key figures around 2150 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 28,036.22 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 3,122.03 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 8,649.94 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,307.70 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 13,207.01 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,929.79

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,704.92 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 23,416.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.4 percent at 26,681.09 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 2,909.20 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2952 from $1.2897 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.48 pence from 85.69 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1072 from $1.1051

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.68 yen from 108.80 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.4 percent at $62.44 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.2 percent at $57.05

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