By Caitlin Ostroff 

Global stocks started the week with muted gains in the absence of any further developments on U.S.-China trade negotiations.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2% after the gauge ended last week above the 28000 milestone. The moves in the stock futures suggest that the benchmark may notch a fresh record after the opening bell.

China's state media Xinhua reported that senior officials from both nations had "constructive discussions" on Saturday morning regarding each other's concerns about a "phase one" deal. But investors remain skeptical, as talks between the world's two largest economies have hit snags in recent weeks over China's reluctance to commit to a specific targets for purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, as well as Beijing's concerns about President Donald Trump's willingness to lift existing tariffs.

"The key to everything we're seeing at the moment is the perception of uncertainty among investors," said Dan Kemp, chief investment officer for Morningstar Investment Management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "At the moment, we are living through a period where that uncertainty is very visible."

Meanwhile, shares of PC and printer maker HP Inc. dipped 4% in premarket trading after the PC and printer maker rejected a $33 billion takeover offer from Xerox Holdings Corp. Xerox fell 2% before the opening bell.

Over in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4% while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.6%. China's central bank on Monday lowered its regular reverse repurchase rate for the first time since October 2015 in an effort to boost market confidence and bolster economic growth.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index ticked up 0.2%, with the real estate and financial services sectors edging higher. Shares in Aviva fell 4.3% after the British insurer said it plans to retain its Singapore and China units, following a Bloomberg News report that a group of financial firms were trying to buy its assets in Singapore and Vietnam.

Spain's Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles rallied 35% after two rival exchange-operators said Monday they are interested in a potential acquisition of the Madrid-based company.

The pound gained 0.5% against the U.S. dollar as weekend opinion polls showed that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's party has the highest level of support since 2017. Mr. Johnson also said that all the Conservative Party candidates have pledged to vote for his Brexit deal if he wins a majority in the Dec. 12 election. The yield on the 10-year U.K. gilt rose to 0.757%, from 0.730% Friday.

Later in the day, investors will be able to gauge U.S. home builders' sentiment when the National Association of Home Builders releases its survey. Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester is also scheduled to speak at the University of Maryland.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 18, 2019 07:53 ET (12:53 GMT)

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