August 6, 2018 / 11:39 AM / a month ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares look past trade fears, but sentiment cautious

* Chinese state media lambastes Trump, markets nervous

* European shares reverse losses, focus on earnings

* Dollar rises, FX mkts show more signs of trade concerns

* Oil price gains after unexpected Saudi production fall

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Tommy Wilkes

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - European shares reversed earlier losses and rallied on Monday as investors focused on prospects for bumper corporate earnings, although fears of a further escalation in the U.S.-China trade conflict left broader market sentiment cautious.

Chinese state media launched an unusually personal attack against U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies on Monday, saying his trade “extortion” would not work.

The reports sought to reassure investors about Chinese economic strength as the dispute continues to rattle financial markets and raises worries about the impact on the real economy.

European shares initially followed their Asian counterparts down - pushed lower by weak European bank earnings and trade war fears - but a bounce in oil prices, a weaker euro and reports U.S. Senator Rand Paul had invited Russian senators to Washington for talks reversed the slide.

The pan-European share index rose 0.22 percent while Germany’s DAX gained 0.64 percent and France’s CAC 40 0.23 percent. The autos sector, which has been a proxy for investors’ worries over higher tariffs, led the gains.

The rise in German shares came despite the biggest plunge in German industrial orders in nearly 18 months.

European companies including Glencore, Lufthansa, UniCredit, Adidas and Commerzbank report this week.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, edged down 0.08 percent, with more than 1 percent drops in the main Chinese indexes.

Despite the better mood in European trading hours, the trade conflict between the U.S. and China remains a live and dominant theme for markets.

“In his latest Twitter tirades and his latest appearances in front of his supporters the U.S. president has indicated something akin to a ‘strategy’ behind his trade war policy,” Commerzbank said. “The trade war will remain in place regardless of how much the Chinese cave in.”

China proposed tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods on Friday and a senior Chinese diplomat cast doubt on prospects of talks to resolve the row.

Trump has said his strategy of placing steep tariffs on Chinese imports is “working far better than anyone ever anticipated”, citing losses in China’s stock market. He predicted the U.S. market could “go up dramatically” once trade deals were renegotiated.

Worries about trade were evident in currency markets, with the dollar edging towards a one-year high.

The dollar index, which benefits as investors rush to safety, rose 0.3 percent to 95.425, a 2-1/2 week high.

The People’s Bank of China’s intervention last week to impose a reserve requirement on foreign exchange forward contracts had the desired impact of halting the slide in the yuan - in offshore markets, it fell 0.1 percent to 6.8574 , well away from the 6.91 weak point plumbed last week.

The yuan has been one of the main casualties from the trade conflict, with investors speculating that the PBOC was happy for the renminbi to weaken to counter the impact of tariffs.

Traders saw Friday’s move as an attempt by Chinese authorities to show they wanted stability, or possibly conciliation.

Others said the intervention would not prevent further yuan weakness with Washington and Beijing still at loggerheads.

U.S. jobs data on Friday, while weaker than expected, underlined that the world’s largest economy is growing robustly, supporting the synchronized global growth that had underpinned investor sentiment before the eruption of the trade dispute.

Markets are increasingly nervous about whether U.S. growth may have peaked, with trade concerns exacerbating those fears.

The euro slipped 0.3 percent to $1.1530, a five-week low, while the stronger dollar sent the Swiss franc down half a percent.

“The trade war concerns are supporting the dollar and there is a bit of a risk-off tone in the markets,” said Manuel Oliveri, a currency strategist at Credit Agricole.

The British pound hit 11-month lows after the UK trade minister warned Britain was headed for a no-deal Brexit.

Oil prices were helped by an unexpected decline in Saudi crude production.

Brent crude futures rose more than 1 percent to $74.01, while U.S. crude oil futures gained 1.45 percent to $69.48 a barrel.

Gold weakened on the back of a firmer dollar and was last down 0.3 percent at $1,209.75. (Additional reporting by Swati Pandey in SYDNEY and Helen Reid in LONDON Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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