Houston Chronicle

Markets up ahead of Trump-Kim session


NEW YORK — U.S. and global markets rose modestly on Monday, as investors made preparatio­ns for President Donald Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

European investors also focused on Italy's new government, and its future using the euro.

Investors spent most of Monday waiting for Tuesday's meeting between Trump and Kim, aimed at settling a standoff over the North's nuclear arsenal.

If successful, the meeting would lower geopolitic­al tensions in an area that involves three of the world's largest economies: South Korea, Japan and China.

“There's a lot of potential volatility that could come this week: We have the Trump-Kim summit and the central bank meetings,” said Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Capital Markets. “A lot of the tone for this week will be set out in Trump's meeting with Kim.”

The Federal Reserve will start a two-day meeting on interest rates on Tuesday, wrapping up on Wednesday. Investors expect the nation's central bank to raise interest rates from their current level of 1.75 percent to 2 percent, but most attention will be on how many rate hikes Fed officials are considerin­g doing later this year.

Investors showed little concern over the swipes that Trump took at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the weekend and Monday.

Trump roiled a weekend meeting of the Group of Seven major industrial economies by agreeing to a group statement only to rapidly withdraw from it while complainin­g about Trudeau's criticism of his tariff threats.

After leaving Canada, Trump called Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak” on Twitter. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she found Trump's tweet disavowing the G-7 statement “a little depressing.”

Italy's markets jumped after the economy minister said the country's new populist government isn't considerin­g leaving the eurozone or adding to the high public debt load. The statement was the strongest yet on the topic from an official in the new government. Markets fell sharply last month on worries that the new administra­tion might consider pulling Italy out of the euro or weakening its role in the currency.

In individual company news, utility company PG&E dropped $1.64, or 4 percent, to $39.81 after California authoritie­s said a series of wildfires was caused by PG&E's equipment, raising liability implicatio­ns for the company.

Boston Scientific jumped $2.32, or 7.2 percent, to $34.31 after the Wall Street Journal reported that that Stryker offered to purchase the medical device company. Stryker shares fell $9.31, or 5.2 percent, to $169.62.

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