In New York, trading was subdued at midday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average essentially unchanged. (Johannes EISELE)

New York (AFP) – Global stocks were mixed Tuesday as markets awaited details on US-China trade negotiations and Brexit talks resumed between the EU and Britain.

Wall Street finished a choppy session marginally lower after European bourses had pushed higher, shrugging off Brexit worries.

“The market is trying to react to a mixed bag of things,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National. “How much is priced in terms of good news in China trade and just how much is the economy slowing domestically.”

After a strong start to 2019, US stocks have been steady but unspectacular the last two weeks while Beijing and Washington have appeared to be inching towards a deal to resolve their trade friction.

After the initial optimism, analysts on Tuesday took a more cautious view of the progress in the tariff battle, with some arguing that the gains already have been figured into valuations or questioning whether an agreement will truly resolve the impasse.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management reported the US services sector had jumped in February but the report followed other data that suggest the US economy is slowing.

– Brexit talks resume –

London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent, helped by a drop in the pound that lifted share prices of multinationals listed on the benchmark index.

“Stocks continue to shrug off no-deal Brexit worries, as UK and EU negotiations are scheduled in Brussels ahead of the March 29 divorce deadline,” analysts at Charles Schwab wrote.

British economic data were mixed, with services sector activity improving in February from the January level, which was a 29-month low.

The data suggest “at least some of the concern about Brexit’s impact on the economy has been overdone,” noted research group Capital Economics in a client note.

The EU’s lead Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier met Britain’s negotiating team as both sides sought solutions a few weeks before this month’s looming Brexit deadline.

Barnier met UK attorney general Geoffrey Cox and Brexit minister Stephen Barclay for four hours over dinner, an EU official told AFP following conciliatory signals from both sides.

The official could not confirm whether the talks would resume on Wednesday when he said journalists would be briefed on the results of Tuesday’s meeting.

The Bank of England warned that Europe’s financial system faced “potential risks” from a no-deal Brexit, as it extended weekly lending facilities to include euros.

Earlier, Shanghai stocks jumped 0.9 percent after the government announced hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

Beijing will also increase spending, with the fiscal deficit set to increase to 2.8 percent of GDP, from 2.6 percent last year.

The government is aiming for economic growth of 6.0-6.5 percent in 2019 below last year’s 6.6 percent, the lowest level in three decades.

The move comes as Chinese leaders are struggling to address a mounting debt crisis as well as the US trade war.

– Key figures around 2140 GMT –

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 25,806.63 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,789.65 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,576.36 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 7,183.43 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 11,620.74 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,297.52 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,327.19 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 21,726.28 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: FLAT at 28,961.60 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.9 percent at 3,054.25 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3176 from $1.3180 at 2200 GMT on Monday

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.81 pence from 86.05 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1308 from $1.1340

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.88 yen from 111.72 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 19 cents at $65.86 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 3 cents at $56.56 per barrel

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