Donald Trump hails 'big progress' in trade talks with China

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2018 has set a record for the worst year for stocks in a decade, following a late-season collapse that's likely to roll into 2019. The World Bank predicts growth will slow to 6.2 percent in 2019, still robust by global standards but what would be the weakest expansion in almost 30 years.

But even with Monday's boost, the three indexes ended in the red.

Most Asian markets likewise lost ground in 2018.

China is already considering a new law on the practice of forced technology transfer that has drawn USA ire, and stepped up internal scrutiny of Belt and Road as poorer countries adopt a more cautious approach to China's plans for what it regards as its backyard.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 71 cents to $46.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "This was really the year that market volatility returned with a vengeance".

After a strong January, Wall Street was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff disputes, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits.

Besides worries over the hard U.S.

China, meanwhile, has shied away from active political and economic structural reforms despite US hopes and it has stepped up its military buildup in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea - home to some of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

In October the market's gyrations grew more volatile. A Christmas Eve plunge brought it briefly into bear market territory, or a drop of 20 per cent from its peak, before closing just short of the threshold that would have meant the end of the market's almost 10-year bull market run.

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"Input price pressures remained elevated in part due to tariffs, particularly in manufacturing and construction, and firms were struggling to pass these higher costs onto customers", the Dallas Federal Reserve said.

Despite the agreement, trade tensions have contributed to big losses in the stock market.

Merck shares rose more than 1 percent, ending the year as the best-performing Dow component of 2018. The Nasdaq rose 50 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,635.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.3 percent to 25,485.70 while the Sensex in India was flat at 36,079.85.

For example, total U.S. agricultural exports to China for the first 10 months of 2018 plummeted by 42 percent year-on-year to $8.3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The gains were led by health care and technology stocks. This year's Christmas Eve was the worst ever for the index. United States crude settled up 8 cents, or 0.18 percent, at $45.41 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for global prices, gained 84 cents to $54.05 per barrel. He tweeted a deal is "moving along very well", calling negotiations "very comprehensive". He believes that China will make greater progress in national development and gain more respect from the world.

Sino-U.S. relations, however, deteriorated in the wake of the pro-democracy protests and military crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, the same year the United States and the Soviet Union declared the end of the Cold War.

"The Chinese and US economic and trade teams have always maintained close communication", said commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a regular briefing.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 109.99 yen from 110.41 yen on Friday. The euro was flat at $1.1433. The Nasdaq rose 74 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,658.

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