Global stocks fall on US-China trade tensions, tech scrutiny

Global stocks fall on US-China trade tensions, tech scrutiny
The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets fell for a second day Tuesday amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies.

Market benchmarks in London, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Tokyo all declined. The dollar sank against the euro and yen but rebounded later against the Japanese currency.

In early trading, Germany’s DAX fell 1 percent to 11,973.02 and London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.7 percent to 7,010.39. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent to 5,138.36.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8 percent to 3,163.63 and Toyko’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.4 percent to 21,292.29. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,751.90.

On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 percent and that for the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.2 percent.

Investors worry China’s decision to raise tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. goods including pork, apples and steel pipe increases the risk of a broader conflict that might depress global trade.

The amount of goods affected is a small share of China’s $150 billion annual imports of U.S. goods. But investors see a bigger fight looming over President Donald Trump’s approval of possible higher U.S. duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

“The risk of a downward spiral to tit-for-tat trade measures has appreciably increased,” Weiliang Chang of Mizuho Bank said in a report.

China’s foreign minister tried to reassure companies and investors that Beijing, the No. 1 trading partner for all of its Asian neighbors, wasn’t closing its markets.

“Despite the rise of protectionism in the world, China will remain committed to openness (and) will open wider to the rest of the world,” Wang Yi said at a news conference.

Elsewhere, India’s Sensex retreated 0.1 percent to 33,214.44 and Seoul’s Kospi ended down 27 points at 2,442.43. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also declined.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng spent most of the day in negative territory but recovered to end up 0.2 percent at 30,137.49.

The dollar dipped in early trading but rebounded to 106.16 yen from Monday’s 105.89 yen. The euro rose to $1.2325 from $1.2302.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $63.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.93 on Monday to close at $63.01.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 29 cents to $67.93 in London. It tumbled $1.70 to $67.64 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks sank as worry about trade tensions was compounded by heightened public scrutiny of tech companies in the United States and Europe.

That deflated some previously high-fliers including Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.

The Dow fell 1.9 percent while the S&P 500 gave up 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite slumped 2.7 percent.

Amazon fell 5.2 percent following broadsides from Trump on Twitter. Facebook tumbled as a widening privacy scandal weighed on its stock.

The threat of tighter regulation in Europe and the United States prompted investors to pull money out of Netflix, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet.

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