Global markets waver on worries over US-China trade dispute

A woman walks past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a local bank in Hong Kong, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Asian markets tumbled Monday as traders feared that President Donald Trump only reported progress in trade talks with China to score political points as the U.S. midterm elections draw near. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

SINGAPORE (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed on Monday as investors watched developments in the U.S-China trade war and the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent to 7,125 while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.2 percent to 5,112. Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 11,540. Wall Street was positioned for a mixed open, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.6 percent at 21,898.99 and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.9 percent to 2,076.92. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 2.1 percent to 25,934.39. The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4 percent to 2,665.43. The S&P ASX/200 in Australia fell 0.5 percent to 5,818.10. Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand but rose in the Philippines.

U.S.-CHINA TRADE: Chinese President Xi Jinping Xi promised Monday to reduce costs for importers and raise consumer spending power at a high-profile trade fair in Shanghai. But Xi did not address an escalating dispute over Beijing’s technology policy. Global markets had risen Friday after Chinese officials and President Donald Trump said a phone conversation between the two leaders had gone well. But fears resurfaced that the bullish talk might have been aimed at scoring political points just ahead of U.S. midterm elections.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Investors are far too wary of an empty promise, but ultimately, they will need to decide how much of President Trump’s olive branch to China was a ploy to boost equity markets ahead of the U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday and how much of it is a bona fide attempt to reach an agreement,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.

BREXIT DEAL: The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May has dismissed reports the country is close to reaching a divorce agreement with the European Union. In particular, Downing Street said a Sunday Times report, which claimed the two sides had agreed on future customs arrangements at the Ireland-Northern Ireland border, was “speculation.” Officials have said negotiators are on the brink of a deal, which could be reached this month.

ENERGY: Oil prices fell as the U.S. defended waivers given to eight unidentified nations, which will be able to continue importing Iranian oil after the re-imposition of sanctions. Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 15 cents to $62.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 55 cents to $63.14 a barrel in New York on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 7 cents at $72.90 per barrel. The contract shed 6 cents to $72.83 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.27 yen from 113.19 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1369 from $1.1387.

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