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Global stocks were set to move higher on Monday morning after investors cheered efforts by the G20 finance ministers to avert a currency war during a weekend meeting in South Korea.

U.S. stock index futures were higher with a little more than an hour before markets open, suggesting that stocks will rise at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were up 59 points or 0.5 per cent. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were up 8 points or 0.7 per cent.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.7 per cent and Germany's DAX index was up 0.6 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent in overnight trading.

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Finance ministers at the G20 meeting agreed that they will try to maintain trade balances at what they called "sustainable levels," while the United States and China in particular agreed to "refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies."

While details were largely absent, optimistic observers could at least see that countries are working to avoid what has been characterized as competitive devaluation of their currencies -- with countries attempting to engineer lower currency valuations to help stimulate their exports. The risk is that this devaluation could escalate into a trade war, which could have devastating consequences for the global economy.

In earnings news, Office Depot Inc. shares surged nearly 12 per cent in premarket activity after it said it would report an unexpected profit in the third quarter, due to falling expenditures.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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