London (AFP) – World stock markets were mostly lower on Friday as investors unwound positions before a Group of Seven summit that could see US President Donald Trump clash with other world leaders over his latest tariff moves.
“The market’s focus has turned to trade tensions as the G7 meetings get underway in Canada and it looks like US President Donald Trump is taking on the whole world,” said Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com.
“Uncertainty as to how these talks will pan out is unnerving investors,” added Jasper Lawler, an analyst with London Capital Group.
European stocks closed mostly lower following a slump in Asia — and after a week of largely strong gains in the wake of robust US jobs data and easing political headwinds in Italy and Spain.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was also pressured by data showing that industrial production in Germany unexpectedly fell in April, adding to fears of a slowdown in Europe’s powerhouse economy.
“After ignoring the trade tensions for as long as they could, a rocky Asian session has left the European indices feeling rather tender,” noted Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex traders.
– ‘Feisty’ G7 –
“A likely feisty G7 meeting in Quebec appears to be the main thing driving the markets lower. Investors are either worried that nothing will get resolved, or Trump will become more entrenched in his aggressive approach to trade,” Campbell added.
Wall Street was a touch lower approaching midday in New York as trade gloom dominated business, while “market participants may be exercising some additional caution ahead of next week’s separate meetings of the world’s three most influential central banks”, said analysts at Charles Schwab.
The US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan all meet next week when the packed schedule of potentially market-moving events also includes a US-North Korean summit and the publication of several US economic data.
In Asia on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei stocks index ended 0.6 percent lower with dealers unmoved by news confirming Japan’s economy shrank for the first time in two years in January-March.
Hong Kong sank 1.8 percent after a six-day winning run and Shanghai slipped 1.4 percent despite forecast-beating Chinese trade data.
“Usually (the G7 summit is) a non-event for markets but with all the focus on escalating trade tensions amongst long-standing allies, there’s a good reason for investors to be chary as this meeting is unlikely to follow an orderly arrangement of discussion,” said Stephen Innes, Oanda’s head of Asia-Pacific trade.
However, there is hope over China-US trade talks after they reached a deal allowing Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE to pay a $1.4-billion fine instead of being hit by a seven-year ban on selling to US firms.
– Key figures around 1545 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,681.07 points (close)
Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 5,450.22 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 12,766.55 (close)
Milan – FTSE MIB: DOWN 1.9 percent at 21,355 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,447.30
New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.1 percent at 25,223.51
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 22,694.50 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.8 percent at 30,958.21 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 3,067.15 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1764 from $1.1799 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3408 from $1.3421
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.42 yen from 109.73 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN $1.09 at $76.23 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 29 cents $65.66