Global markets subdued ahead of US-China trade pact signing

Global markets subdued ahead of US-China trade pact signing

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BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were subdued Monday ahead of the signing of an interim U.S.-Chinese trade pact and as concerns about U.S.-Iranian tensions eased.

Indexes in Europe were mixed after Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea finished higher. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday and futures pointed to small gains on Wall Street.

Traders are looking ahead to this week's signing of the interim U.S.-Chinese trade deal, which they hope will be a step toward ending a tariff war that threatens to drag down global economic growth.

Markets start the week “on a cautiously optimistic tone" as investors look ahead for the possibility of further U.S.-China trade progress, analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a report.

The “Phase 1” agreement has helped ease market jitters, though economists warn it leaves major disputes unresolved and the outlook for negotiations is unclear.

"Thornier issues such as enforcement may come back to haunt further negotiation progress,” Mizhuo Bank warned.

Investors also were encouraged by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to resume a regular trade policy dialogue with Beijing that Washington pulled out of in July 2017.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,605 and Frankfurt's DAX shed 0.3% to 13,449. France's CAC 40 was flat at 6,036.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up 0.3%.

On Friday, U.S. stocks retreated from record highs after the Labor Department reported employers added 145,000 jobs in December, short of the 160,000 forecast.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index on Monday gained 0.7% to 3,115.57 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1% to 28,954.94. Seoul's Kospi advanced 1% to 2,229.26.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.4% to 6,903.70 while India's Sensex added 0.6% to 41,859.69. Taiwan advanced while Singapore and New Zealand retreated.

Under the “Phase 1” trade pact due to be signed Thursday, Washington postponed planned tariff hikes and Beijing agreed to buy more American farm exports.

Details have yet to be released. Economists warn key hurdles including Beijing's insistence that Washington roll back punitive tariffs on Chinese goods have yet to be resolved.

The chief American negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, said Beijing agreed to make changes to address U.S. complaints that it steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Chinese officials have yet to confirm that.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 2 cents to $59.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 52 cents on Friday to close at $59.04. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 6 cents to $64.92 per barrel in London. It declined 39 cents the previous session to $64.98.

CURRENCY: The pound was the big mover, falling below $1.30 for the first time this year on speculation the Bank of England could cut interest rates. It was trading at $1.2910, down from $1.3063 on Friday.

The dollar gained to 109.89 yen from 109.46 yen, while the euro edged down to $1.1121 from $1.1123.

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