Global shares mostly turn lower again amid trade tensions

Business

A woman walks past an electronic stock board showing the conversion rates of international currencies to Japanese yen at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Asian shares rose Friday as investors bought back stocks following gains on Wall Street, although worries about a trade dispute between the U.S. and China remained. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — European shares slid and U.S. markets looked to open lower on Friday as worries persist about the economic impact of the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

The absence of any new escalation in the trade dispute helped power a rally on Wall Street on Thursday that carried to Asia overnight. But the buying appears to be short-lived.

Germany’s DAX was down 1.2% to 11,704 after a report showed that exports declined again in June and are down 8% year-over-year, raising fears that Europe’s biggest economy shrank slightly in the second quarter. France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.9% to 5,337 in midday trading, while Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1% to 7,280 after government figures showed that the British economy shrank in the second quarter for the first time since 2012.

U.S. shares were set to drift lower, with Dow futures down 0.6% at 26,196. S&P 500 futures were down 0.7% at 2,918.

Technology companies powered stocks broadly higher on Wall Street on Thursday, driving the S&P 500 to its best day in more than two months and erasing its losses for the week.

The Chinese currency was again trading near its weakest point this week.

The country’s central bank rattled financial markets when it allowed the yuan to fall to an 11-year low against the dollar on Monday in what economists said was a “warning shot” to Washington in the midst of a tariff war.

On Friday, the People’s Bank of China set the starting point for trading at 7.0136 to the dollar, from 7.0039 on Thursday. But the yuan weakened to trade at 7.0593, not far from Wednesday’s 7.0662 level. Investor anxiety has eased following central bank statements promising sharp declines will not continue and the exchange rate will be kept stable.

“Share markets are at risk of further short-term volatility and weakness on the back of the escalating U.S.-China trade war, Middle East tensions and mixed economic data,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.4% to finish at 20,684.82. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 6,584.40. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.9% to 1,937.75. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.5% to 25,996.64 while the Shanghai Composite edged down 0.7% to 2,774.75.

Data on Japan’s economy for the April-June quarter were better than expected and added to the optimism. Japan’s gross domestic product grew at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.8% during the three months ended in June, compared to the previous quarter.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude rose 67 cents to $53.21 a barrel, despite an International Energy Agency report saying the U.S.-China trade war and a decline in world economic growth are weakening the demand for oil. Brent crude oil, the international standard, picked up 83 cents to $58.21 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 105.69 Japanese yen from 105.97 Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1202 from $1.1197.

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Matt Ott in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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