March 29, 2019 / 12:52 PM / 22 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks gain on trade hopes, set for best quarter since 2012

(Updates prices)

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Trade hopes lift stocks

* Stocks set for best quarter since 2012

* Bond yields climb after prolonged slide

* Wall Street set to open higher

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Global shares rose on Friday amid optimism over trade talks between the United States and China and were headed for their best quarterly performance since 2012, while bond yields rose after worries about growth led to a prolonged decline.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose half a percent. France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.84 percent, Germany’s DAX rose 0.84 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.3 percent.

Their gains came after Asia’s strong advance. Chinese shares rose more than 3.1 percent after U.S. officials said China had made proposals in trade talks that went further than it had before.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday he had a “productive working dinner” the previous night in Beijing, before talks aimed at resolving the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

“Our base case is for the current tariff truce extension to yield only a partial resolution, including select U.S. tariff rollbacks in exchange for some Chinese concessions on imports, market access and intellectual property,” strategists at UBS wrote in a note to clients.

Gains on Wall Street overnight also bolstered investor optimism. S&P 500 E-mini futures were up by 0.36 percent. Despite recent turbulence, the S&P 500 has gained 12.3 percent this quarter, its best quarterly performance since 2009 if sustained.

MSCI’s All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.25 percent on the day. It was set to post its best quarterly performance since March 2012.

German and French government bond yields were poised for their biggest monthly falls since June 2016, Heightened anxiety about global growth had sparked a flood into fixed income globally.

Ten-year bond yields across the euro zone were higher in early trade, reflecting the gains by stocks.

Wouter Sturkenboom, chief investment strategist for EMEA at Northern Trust, said he expected bond markets to stabilise from here.

“The growth outlook for the euro zone is not as bad as markets are anticipating and we think the Bund yield also reflects some safe-haven element,” he said.

LIRA IN FOCUS

Analysts at UBS said pessimism in the bond market looked overdone, citing three reasons: economic growth is slowing, not stalling; central banks still support growth; and corporate earnings are stronger than they appear.

The 10-year U.S. bond yield edged up to 2.421 percent from Thursday’s 15-month low of 2.352 percent, after a slide since the Federal Reserve’s dovish tone last week sparked worries about the U.S. economic outlook.

Investors have been on alert since the yield on the 10-year note fell below that of the three-month U.S. Treasury paper last Friday. An inversion of the yield curve is widely considered an indicator of a recession.

Data on Thursday showed the U.S. economy grew less than initially thought in the fourth quarter. GDP growth was revised down to an annual 2.2 percent from an earlier 2.6 percent.

In currencies, the euro was higher by 0.1 percent at $1.1226 , though it was headed for its worst month since October, weighed down by fears about economic growth and cautious signals from the European Central Bank.

Speculation the ECB will introduce a tiered deposit rate, a sign that policymakers plan to keep interest rates low for longer, also weighed on the euro.

Against a basket of other currencies, the dollar was down 0.1 percent.

The Turkish lira dropped 1.7 percent, a day after it plunged 4 percent. President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the currency’s weakness on attacks by the West before Turkish elections on Sunday.

Britain’s pound rose nearly half a percent to $1.3100 after a report of growing support for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The currency was headed for its biggest monthly drop in five months.

Oil prices rose amid supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, putting crude markets on track for their biggest quarterly rise since 2009.

U.S. crude futures traded at $60.33 per barrel, up 1.74 percent on the day and recovering from Thursday’s low of $58.20. Brent rose 1.74 percent to $68.75 per barrel.

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe in London; editing by Larry King

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