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Global stocks steady as US and China hike tariffs

August 23, 2018
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An investor walks in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Asian stock markets are mixed after U.S. and Chinese officials held talks on their deepening trade dispute ahead of a new round of tariff hikes. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets traded in narrow ranges Thursday after the United States and China imposed new tariff hikes on each other’s goods in an escalation of their battle over Beijing’s technology policy.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was steady at 12,383 while London’s FTSE 100 was more or less unchanged at 7,574. The CAC 40 in France was 0.1 percent higher at 5,427. U.S. stocks were similarly poised for a tepid opening with both Dow futures and the S&P 500 futures unchanged.

TRADE WAR: The United States and China imposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of each other’s goods including automobiles, factory equipment and other goods. The increases, previously announced, came as envoys met in Washington for their first high-level talks in two months. Beijing has rejected U.S. demands to scale back technology development plans its trading partners saying violate Chinese market-opening pledges and that American officials worry might erode the United States’ industrial leadership.

ANALYST TAKE: “There seems to be little headway being make over the months, and the inability of the Chinese to appease Trump’s demands mean that this is likely to rumble on for some time yet,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG. “However, with the bar set so low, there is also the potential for some sort of half-hearted announcement which sets out an agreement to work towards specific targets, in a similar ilk to the seen with the EU.”

CENTRAL BANK WATCH: Central bankers including Jerome Powell of the U.S. Federal Reserve hold an annual gathering starting Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Investors are looking ahead to Powell’s keynote speech for signs of Fed views on Turkey’s currency crisis and U.S.-Chinese trade tensions. If Powell sounds confident, investors would likely conclude the Fed will keep gradually raising rates.

ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent 2,724.62 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 percent to 22,410.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 27,790.46 while Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.4 percent to 2,282.60.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was unchanged at $67.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 22 cents to $74.57 per barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1579 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 110.80 yen.

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