Some market watchers bemoaned the lack of concrete progress in the US-China trade talks.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (R) and top White House trade adviser Peter Navarro in Washington on February 19, 2019 (Jim WATSON)
New York (AFP) – Global stocks finished mixed on Tuesday following a meandering session as investors eyed ongoing US-China trade talks.
US stocks scraped out narrow gains, along with Frankfurt, while Paris and London retreated. Asian markets were mixed.
US and Chinese officials resumed high-stakes negotiations in Washington aimed at ending a damaging tariff war between the economic superpowers.
US President Donald Trump said the talks were “going very well” but are “very complex.”
He suggested he could extend a March 1 deadline to impose new tariff measures if a final deal is not reached in time, saying the start of the next month is “not a magical date.”
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National, said investors remain encouraged by the current state of talks between the two countries.
“The perception is negotiations continue,” he said. “We’re not there yet but if we get to the deadline, the situation won’t escalate.”
But some market watchers bemoaned the lack of concrete progress.
“Without sounding like a damp squib, there is now a vast amount of ‘optimism’ baked into currency, stock and energy market prices globally and precisely zero concrete detail. The unwind, should no deal be struck, could be very ugly,” said Oanda analyst Jeffrey Halley.
Besides the trade talks, investors are eyeing minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting, which will be released on Wednesday.
The US central bank shifted to a more dovish posture at the last meeting, a key factor in the stock market’s rally since late December.
Among individual companies, London-listed shares of HSBC slid 4.0 percent after reporting a pre-tax profit drop of one percent to $3.4 billion, missing analyst expectations.
HSBC leadership said they were prepared to weather fallout from any failure of the trade talks and Britain’s impending departure from the EU.
But in its annual report, HSBC said its “expected credit loss” impairment allowance had increased by $165 million to $410 million because of “the increased level of economic uncertainty in the UK”.
Walmart jumped 2.2 percent after reporting a nearly 70 percent jump in fourth-quarter profits to $3.7 billion following strong holiday sales.
– Key figures around 2130 GMT –
New York – DOW: UP less than 0.1 percent at 25,891.32 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 2,779.76 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 7,486.77 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,179.17 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 11,309.21 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,160.52 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,239.41 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 21,302.65 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4 percent at 28,228.13 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.3 percent at 2,755.65 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1342 from $1.1311 at 2200 GMT Monday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3062 from $1.2924
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.58 yen from 110.62 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 5 cents at $66.45 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 50 cents at $56.09 per barrel
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