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International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Wall Street edged higher after pulling back from stronger gains on Monday as weakness in defensive stocks offset trade optimism after US President Donald Trump's conciliatory remarks toward China's ZTE Corp indicated easing US-China trade tensions.

The S&P 500 briefly crossed into negative territory after hitting a roughly two-month high earlier in the session, but was back on track for its fourth straight day of gains.

Trump vowed to help ZTE "get back into business, fast" nearly a month after the Commerce Department implemented a ban on US companies selling to the company.

Trump's reversal came as high-level trade talks between the world's two largest national economies were due to resume this week after Washington's tough stance on trade and tariffs put the countries on track for a potential trade war.

"It seems like there's a little less concern about a trade war with China given some of the overtures that President Trump made," said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. "They're hoping for a dying down of the trade war rhetoric and, quite frankly, they're probably looking for some successful deals (to be) made."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 68.24 points, or 0.27 per cent higher, at 24,899.41, the S&P 500 gained 2.41 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,730.13 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.43 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7,411.32.

LONDON: UK shares fell slightly on Monday following a strong run, while a potential bidding war for IWG triggered a surge in the serviced office provider's stock, the latest deal in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.

The FTSE 100 fell nearly 0.2 per cent, weighed down by financials and by a rising pound, which typically weighs on dollar-earning companies, while the broader FTSE 250, which includes IWG, added 0.1 per cent.

On the European mainland shares were virtually flat with Germany's DAX 30 down 0.18 per cent, and France's CAC 40 down 0.02 per cent.

The FTSE 100 recorded a seventh straight week of gains on Friday, its longest winning streak since June 2015, as investors began to warm to UK equities amid a wave of deals and takeovers.

Morgan Stanley on Monday upgraded its view on British equities, saying the market should benefit from higher commodity prices and an increase in dealmaking activity despite economic uncertainty over Brexit.

"The UK market is a fertile ground for stock pickers, given a combination of low valuations and increasing corporate activity/activism," the US bank's strategists said.

TOKYO: Asian shares rose to near two-month highs on Monday on hopes of a thaw in US-China trade tensions as US President Donald Trump pledged to help ZTE Corp "get back into business, fast" after a US ban crippled the Chinese technology company.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei tacked on 0.5 per cent.

Chinese shares came off the day's highs but were still up after Trump's comments on ZTE , which JPMorgan analysts said was "a significant positive."

Shanghai's SSE Composite rose 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed more than one per cent.

WELLINGTON: On Monday, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.42 per cent, to 8,713.23.