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Stock markets mostly up as crunch G20 summit gets underway

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for 'beautiful harmony' at the G20, where most attention will be on Saturday's meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping

European and US stocks climbed on Friday as investors kept a watch on developments at a Group of 20 summit in Japan, where US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are due for a high-stakes discussion on trade. As heads of the world's 20 leading economies began their summit in Osaka, Trump said he was hopeful that Saturday's talks would be "productive." Global equities have enjoyed a largely positive couple of weeks on hopes for progress in the head-to-head meeting between the leaders of the world's top two economies, though the possibility of failure persists. "Optimism has been limited at best," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at the trading firm IG. "The fact that the trade conflict has lasted this long sends a message that both sides are not rushing towards a deal, or are prepared to make significant concessions." In Europe, both Paris and Frankfurt closed with solid gains, while London edged up 0.3 percent. On Wall Street, the broad-based S&P 500 finished the session at 2,941.76, up 0.6 percent for the day. The index has risen 17.3 percent so far this year, the best first half of a year since 1997. The mood in Asia was more downbeat with Shanghai ending down 0.6 percent and Tokyo and Hong Kong each off 0.3 percent. The dollar was down slightly against the euro and pound, while sterling did not react to official data confirming that Britain's Brexit-facing economy grew by 0.5 percent in the first quarter. - 'Greatest threat' - Saturday's Trump-Xi meeting is "hugely important as the trade war represents arguably the greatest threat to the global economy -- especially if it is allowed to escalate further," Craig Erlam of Oanda trading group told AFP. There remains some uncertainty about how the meeting will go, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that Xi plans to demand the United States reverse a ban on doing business with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei as a condition for kick-starting talks. Trade talks stalled last month, with US officials accusing their Chinese counterparts of reneging on core commitments negotiated so far. Some market watchers think the two sides will agree to a cease-fire on new tariffs but not reach a comprehensive agreement. Elsewhere on Friday, world oil prices wobbled as dealers await next week's output meeting of OPEC and other top crude-producing nations, notably Russia. OPEC is on red alert over escalating US-Iran tensions that have fueled recent strong oil-price gains -- but producers are likely to extend output cuts agreed late last year, according to analysts. "The outcome of the OPEC meeting in Vienna on Monday seems to be a done deal," noted City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta. "Most of the major players have already indicated that the group plans to extend production cuts put in place in December and there has been no major dissenting voice among the oil producers." - Key figures around 2110 GMT - New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 26,599.96 (close) New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,941.76 (close) New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 8,006.24 (close) London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,425.63 (close) Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 5,538.97 (close) Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.0 percent at 12,398.80 (close) EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,473.69 (close) Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 21,275.92 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,542.62 (close) Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,978.88 (close) Brent North Sea crude: UNCHANGED at $66.55 per barrel West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 96 cents at $58.47 per barrel Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1375 from $1.1369 at 2100 GMT Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2700 from $1.2674 Dollar/yen: UP at 107.82 yen from 107.79 burs-jmb/dg