Global shares mixed in lacklustre trading, Nikkei falls 0.7 per cent

|     Yuri Kageyama     |

TOKYO (AP) – Global shares were little changed and mixed in quiet trading yesterday amid a lack of fresh market-moving news as investors looked ahead to earnings season.

France’s CAC 40 inched up 0.1 per cent in early trading to 5,584.67, while Germany’s DAX was flat at 12,387,54. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3 per cent to 7,555.49.

United States (US) shares also looked set for a slow start, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly unchanged at 27,347. S&P 500 futures gained less than 0.1 per cent to 3,017.70.

One factor weighing on sentiment is the impasse between the US and China over trade.

The White House’s repeated threats to raise tariffs further in retaliation for the US trade deficit and policies that critics say are unfair has made companies hesitant to invest and has hurt trade internationally. They’re a big reason China on Monday reported its weakest quarter of economic growth in at least 26 years.

A currency trader gestures at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. – AP

US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told reporters in Washington on Monday that he has held “several conversations” with Chinese officials and expects another phone call this week.

The aim is to restart high-level talks that collapsed in May.

“To the extent that we make significant progress I think we’ll go there,” he said.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.7 per cent to finish at 21,535.25. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost nearly 0.2 per cent to 6,641.00. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 per cent to 2,091.87 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent to 28,619.62, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 per cent to 2,937.62.

Shares have jumped since early June on increasing expectations that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help the economy, and investors are virtually certain that it will happen at the next Fed meeting at the end of this month. The only question, investors say, is how deeply the Fed will cut when it lowers rates for the first time in a decade.

Until then, the main drivers for the market will likely be the hundreds of earnings reports scheduled to come from big companies, showing how much profit they made from April through June.

Several economic reports are also on the US schedule this week, including updates on retail sales, the housing industry and shoppers’ confidence. The US economy has generally remained solid, but investors don’t expect this week’s reports to alter the direction of the Fed, which has already given hints about rate cuts given weakening economic trends around the world.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude fell nine cents at USD59.49 a barrel. It fell 63 cents on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, shed nine cents to USD66.39 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.03 Japanese yen from 107.98 on Monday. The euro fell to USD1.1243 from USD1.1258.