Article Written by Lauriann Azzopardi – Junior Investment Advisor

On Thursday, US stocks aimed higher; news that the US and China are prepared to resume trade talks next week improved investors’ sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its best day in four months, jumping 1.6%, reflecting strong corporate earnings from Walmart Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. It was the blue-chip index’s strongest one-day performance since April 10. The S&P 500 index advanced 0.8%, to 2,840.69 with all its 11 sectors ending in positive territory, led by telecommunications services, consumer staples and financials. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.4% to 7,806.52.

Meanwhile the European markets also closed in the green on Thursday, recovering from the selloff the day before, after the United States and China reached a deal to start new trade talks at the end of the month. Investors also digested trade balance data from the Eurozone and retail sales figures from the United Kingdom. The FTSE 100 climbed 0.78% with Ocado Group surging 3.94%.The DAX ended 0.61% higher. The best performer was SAP whose shares jumped 2.78%. The CAC 40 rose 0.83%. Publicis and LVMH led the gains as their stock added 2.30% and 2.28%, respectively.

US prepared to impose more anti-Turkey sanctions

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that Washington is "prepared" to impose further sanctions against Turkey if Ankara refuses to release the American pastor detained in 2016.

The tensions between Washington and Ankara escalated in July after Trump announced the US will impose sanctions against Turkey as a result of the nearly two-year-long detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson. The sanctions were introduced against Turkish high-level officials, to which Ankara responded with retaliatory measures as it froze assets of American justice and interior ministers.

On Wednesday, the White House said the US will lift the embargo against Turkey if Brunson is freed, but stressed that the increased tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum will remain as they are not connected to the pastor, but are a matter of "national interest."

Turkey Offered Help

Qatar pledged $15 billion in direct investments, economic projects, and deposits to support Turkey as it struggles with a currency crisis. Officials from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said the pledge was made by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who met with the Turkish leader Wednesday.

The currency has lost nearly 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by Erdogan’s increasing influence on the economy and his call for lower interest rates despite the high inflation. Following the Qatar news, the lira firmed briefly to 5.8699 before falling back to 6.0500. The currency had rebounded 6 percent on Wednesday after the central bank squeezed lira liquidity in the market, pushing up rates and supporting the currency.

PlayStation Creator Backs Neuroscience for Self-Driving Cars

Japanese startup Ascent Robotics aims to create software for self-driving cars to sell to vehicle-makers and equipment manufacturers. The firm raised $18 million this year and aims to complete a fully-functional AI vehicle system by late 2020, when it plans to hold an initial public offering. Ascent Robotics is captivating Japan’s tech community as it counts Ken Kutaragi – creator of Sony’s PlayStation game console – as one of its board members.