World stocks slip as US-China talks end with no quick fixes
SINGAPORE (AP) -- World markets retreated on Thursday after U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of trade talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX dipped 0.6 percent to 10,827.31 and France's CAC 40 was 1 percent lower at 4,766.42. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.5 percent to 6,872.92. Wall Street was set for early losses. The broad S&P 500 futures lost 0.7 percent to 2,564.50. Dow futures shed 0.6 percent to 23,682.00.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index, which gained more than 1 percent on Wednesday, fell 1.3 percent to 20,163.80. The Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.1 percent to 2,063.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng recovered from early losses, adding 0.2 percent to 26,521.43. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4 percent to 2,535.10. Australia's S&P ASX 200 rebounded to gain 0.3 percent to 5,795.30. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.
U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Official statements released after the talks, which lasted a day longer than planned, did not say if progress was made on ending a tariffs battle that has shaken financial markets. China's Ministry of Commerce said there were "detailed exchanges" and both sides would "maintain close contact," without offering specifics. A statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said negotiators will "report back to receive guidance on the next steps." The talks come after President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met and agreed to hold off on more tariffs for 90 days, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina last month. Investors are hopeful that more and higher-level negotiations will follow.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "While there was agreement on less thorny issues such as agriculture and energy, U.S. demands for verification and enforceable targets on intellectual property rights, transfer of technologies and non-tariff barriers may not be that easily addressed," DBS Group Research strategists Eugene Leow and Neel Gopalakrishnan said in a commentary.
FED IN FOCUS: Traders are also mulling over the minutes of December's Federal Reserve meeting, which were released Wednesday. They showed officials believe the central bank could be "patient" about future rate hikes, given current market volatility, trade tensions and shaky global growth. The Fed now plans two hikes in 2019, down from three. But analysts believe that it may raise rates just once this year if economic growth slows.
BREXIT FEARS: British lawmakers have approved financial roadblocks, which require the government to seek approval before spending on "no-deal" Brexit preparations. The Finance Bill amendment, passed after a close 303-296 vote on Tuesday, makes it more difficult for Britain to leave the European Union without a deal on March 29. Prime Minister Theresa May could be forced to come up with a new plan on deadline, if she can't convince enough lawmakers to back an unpopular deal she reached with the bloc.
ENERGY: Oil prices fell back after hitting their highest levels in almost a month. U.S. crude, which has jumped 15 percent in 2019, dropped 63 cents to $51.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It surged 5.2 percent to $52.36 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up 66 cents to $60.78 per barrel. It climbed 4.6 percent to $61.44 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 108.01 yen from 108.15 yen late Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1529 from $1.1543.