Global stocks mixed after Wall Street decline
European stocks gained in early trading Wednesday while Asian markets were mixed after U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a fresh warning to North Korea and China reported weaker but still-robust trade growth.
KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, Germany’s DAX gained 0.2 percent to 13,404.15 and France’s CAC 40 added 0.2 percent to 5,491.36. London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 7,521.06. On Tuesday, the DAX and FTSE 100 both shed 0.7 percent and the CAC 40 lost 0.5 percent. On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average were unchanged. The S&P lost 0.49 points on Tuesday while the Dow gained 8.8 points and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.3 percent.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.1 percent to 22,913.82 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 0.3 percent to 28,907.60. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 2 points to 3,415.46 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 2 points to 6,116.30. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.3 percent to 2,552.40 and India’s Sensex edged up 14 points to 33,383.74. Benchmarks in Singapore and Bangkok advanced while New Zealand, Taiwan and Jakarta declined.
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks slipped as smaller companies and banks took their worst losses in a few months as interest rates moved lower. Small, domestically focused companies had their worst day since mid-August as House Republicans began making changes to their tax bill.
TRUMP WATCH: Trump arrived in Beijing on a two-day visit with trade high on his agenda. The president has said publicly he wants China to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States but has yet to say what he might propose to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump is in the middle of a 12-day, multination tour of Asia.
NORTH KOREA: In a speech to South Korean lawmakers before flying to Beijing, Trump warned North Korea, “Do not underestimate us. And do not try us.” Pro- and anti-Trump protesters staged rallies in Seoul ahead of his visit, reflecting a public deeply divided along ideological and age lines. Many South Koreans worry Trump’s fiery rhetoric on North Korea raises the risk of war that could cost thousands of South Korean lives.
ANALYST COMMENT: “Markets seem unsure which way to go next — equity markets are largely becalmed, FX is mostly directionless, with a few exceptions, and the same too goes for bond markets,” Rob Carnell of ING said in a report. “We still wait more progress on the U.S. tax reform bill.” He said Trump was acting more diplomatically and “does not appear to have set off any fireworks” in South Korea.
CHINA TRADE: China reported its exports rose 6.9 percent to $188.9 billion, a decline from September’s 8.1 percent growth. Imports rose 17.2 percent to $150.9 billion, down from the previous month’s 18.7 percent increase. The politically volatile trade surplus with the United States was $26.6 billion, a decline of $1.5 billion from September but a 12.2 percent increase from a year earlier.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 113.87 yen from Tuesday’s 113.99 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1605 from $1.1588.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude declined 10 cents to $57.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 15 cents on Tuesday to close at $57.20. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 4 cents to $63.65 in London. It lost 58 cents the previous session to close at $64.27.
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