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Stocks cheer trade headway, US-Iran calm; dovish talk pounds sterling


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Stocks cheer trade headway, US-Iran calm; dovish talk pounds sterling

➤ Stocks rally amid easing US-Iran tensions.

➤ Chinese vice premier set for Washington visit Jan. 13.

➤ Pound drops as BoE's Carney flags stimulus debate.

➤ World Bank trims global growth outlook.

Wall Street appears set to track gains in global stocks as U.S.-China trade progress returns to focus after President Donald Trump signaled a move toward de-escalation with Iran.

In his first televised address since Iran launched a missile attack on military bases housing American troops in Iraq, the U.S. president said Tehran seemed to be "standing down" from further retaliatory action. However, he also announced new economic sanctions against Iran, vowing to maintain pressure until the leadership in Tehran "changes its behavior," though it was unclear what form those additional sanctions would take.

Meanwhile, Chinese vice premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He will visit Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13-15 to sign a "phase one" trade agreement with the U.S.

Futures of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were up by 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively, as of 6:30 a.m. ET, amid a wider risk-on sentiment in the markets.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, Germany's DAX climbed 1.3% and France's CAC 40 added 0.4%. The Stoxx Europe 600 index added 0.4%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 2.3%, while MSCI's index of other stocks in the region rose 1.7%. The Shanghai SE Composite index added 0.9% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.7% as China's annual consumer inflation held steady in the last month of 2019 amid slowing pork price growth.

In the foreign exchange market, sterling depreciated 0.5% to $1.303 after outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said policymakers at the central bank are debating "the relative merits of near-term stimulus" to support expectations of economic growth and inflation recovery in the U.K. Two of the nine members of the BoE's monetary policy committee already voted for a cut during the latest policy setting meeting in December 2019, when rates were kept on hold.

The Japanese yen depreciated 0.3% against the dollar, giving up all the gains it made in the year to date as investor sentiment improved on easing U.S.-Iran tensions. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of developed-market peers, rose nearly 0.2% to 97.46. The euro was broadly flat against the dollar and up 0.6% against the pound.

In commodities, Brent crude oil edged 0.2% higher to $65.57 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange while the West Texas Intermediate rose 0.3% to $59.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold lost 0.7% to $1,545.80 per ounce.

Among bonds, Treasurys were broadly stable before a slew of U.S. Federal Reserve officials hit the wires. "Markets will look for confirmation that the Fed remains firmly on hold for now even if the global economic outlook has improved," wrote Kristoffer Lomholt, senior analyst at Danske Bank Research.

German Bunds slipped as the 10-year yield added 1 basis point to negative 0.23%.

Elsewhere, the World Bank Group trimmed its global growth forecast for 2019 to the lowest since the global financial crisis, and noted that that while the economy is headed for a modest rebound in 2020, the outlook remains fragile amid persisting headwinds.

More from S&P Global Market Intelligence:

The common theme in 2020 economic outlooks? Uncertainty

US regulatory pressures to shape big tech's 2020 spending strategies

US auto sales decline 1.4% in 2019; car sales plummet as trucks, SUVs gain

After curbing year-end volatility, Fed weighs future of repo operations

Key rates in Latin America drop in 2019 to stave off stagnation

India's nonbank lenders to continue facing funding challenges in 2020: analysts

CES 2019 — Australia bucks global trend with 15% increase in 2019 budget

The day ahead:

8:15 a.m. ET — Canada housing starts

8:30 a.m. ET — U.S. jobless claims (Econoday consensus: 219,000)

9:30 a.m. TE — U.S. Fed's Neel Kashkari speaks

10:30 a.m. ET — U.S. EIA natural gas report

11:30 a.m. ET — U.S. Fed's John Williams speaks

12:45 p.m. ET — U.S. Fed's Tom Barkin speaks

1:20 p.m. ET — U.S. Fed's Charles Evans speaks

4:30 p.m. ET — U.S. Fed balance sheet and money supply