TOKYO (AP) — World share benchmarks were mixed on Friday, with Asia mostly advancing while several European markets lost ground after President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1 percent on news Trump plans to meet with North Korea’s leader.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.2 percent to 5,243.37. Germany’s DAX lost 0.5 percent to 12,295.99 while Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1 percent higher to 7,207.03. Dow futures were little changed at 24,924.00, while S&P 500 futures also were flat at 2743.90.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to finish at 21,469.20. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,963.20. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1 percent to 2,459.45. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also rose 1.1 percent, to 30,996.21. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.6 percent to 3,307.17.
TARIFFS IMPACT: Wall Street rallied following reports that Canada and Mexico will be exempted indefinitely from the tariffs and that other countries will be invited to negotiate for exemptions as well. Although the tariffs are likely to hurt some Asian nations, the impact may be not that damaging to countries like Japan that export more to other Asian countries such as China.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: Junichi Makino, analyst at SMBC Nikko said the tariffs were more damaging to free trade in principle than to the actual realities of economic growth. The tariffs will lower the profitability of Japan’s major companies by 0.02 percent only, he said. “When protectionism grows, this can lead to a trade war.”
NORTH KOREA: Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said Thursday. No American president has ever met with a North Korean leader while still in office.
ASIAN CENTRAL BANKS: The Bank of Japan kept its ultra-lax monetary policy intact, as expected, at a policy meeting that ended Friday. Meanwhile, People’s Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan told reporters China can be bolder about opening its financial markets following progress in developing financial regulation, improving management of financial institutions and Beijing’s efforts to promote use abroad of its tightly controlled currency, the yuan.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 27 cents to $60.39 barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.03 to $60.12 a barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 39 cents to $64.00 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 106.72 yen from 105.97 yen late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.2316 from $1.2408.
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