Global Shares Slide as Barcelona Attack, U.S. Uncertainty Unnerve Investors

By Justin Yang and Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stocks down following Barcelona attack

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-- Spain's IBEX 35 worst performer

-- Wall Street poised for mixed open

Global stock markets were lower Friday, following an attack in Barcelona and amid political tensions in the U.S.

European markets opened broadly lower after the Thursday attack in which at least 13 people died. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 0.9% in the opening minutes of trade. Spain's benchmark IBEX 35 was Europe's biggest decliner, down 1.2%. Futures pointed toward a mixed open on Wall Street.

British airline company EasyJet PLC was one of the biggest decliners in the U.K., down 3.2%.

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Simmering geopolitical tensions and the Trump administration's strained relationship with business leaders had nervous investors shifting their money to haven assets, boosting gold by 0.5%. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its biggest decline in three months.

In Asia, markets were lower Friday with financial shares among the region's biggest decliners.

The Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.2%. There was added pressure from the advance of the yen against the dollar, last up 0.5% against the dollar.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.8%, after having been off as much as 1.2%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 narrowed its loss to 0.6%. Korea's Kospi was off 0.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index was flat.

Friday's declines reflect investors' increasingly downbeat attitude about stocks, said Soichiro Monji, general manager of economic research at Daiwa SB Investments. More investors fear returns are falling due to slower growth, he said, while risks remain abundant.

Meanwhile, further woes in the Trump administration after the president's policy advisory council of executives disbanded risk hurting market confidence and business sentiment globally.

"Everyone's keeping an eye on that to make sure it doesn't derail on his agenda. We're already deadlocked on a number of issues. If that turns further south it could be damaging with the market," said Mark Spellman, a portfolio manager at Alpine Funds.

Developments on the looming debt ceiling debate and tax reform in the U.S. are also being watched closely by investors, Mr. Spellman said.

Given the run-up in U.S. valuations following the presidential election, "it is better to look for opportunities outside of the U.S., where there is better momentum for growth or reform," said Paul Flood, a multiasset portfolio manager at Newton Investment Management, which manages $71 billion in assets.

Kosaku Narioka and Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2017 04:06 ET (08:06 GMT)