Global Stocks Lower Amid Spain Attacks, U.S. Political Tensions

By Justin Yang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stocks down following Spain attacks

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-- Haven assets advance

-- Wall Street poised for slight opening gain

Global stock markets were lower Friday, amid political tensions in the U.S. and as some European stocks suffered following terror attacks in Spain.

European markets were broadly lower after an assault in Barcelona and a subsequent attack in the Spanish coastal town of Cambrils left at least 14 people dead. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 0.7% Friday afternoon. Spain's benchmark IBEX 35 was one of Europe's biggest decliners, down 0.9%.

Futures indicated the S&P 500 was poised to open 0.1% higher.

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Shares of European travel companies suffered some of the largest losses of the day. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA -- one of the biggest decliners in the U. K. -- fell 1.4%. Airline shares in Europe tend to endure a short-lived selloff in the wake of terror attacks as investors assess the potential for a hit to tourism.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Travel and Leisure sector was the worst performing sector, down 1.2% Friday.

Simmering geopolitical tensions and the Trump administration's strained relationship with business leaders saw investors shift to haven assets, boosting gold by 0.7%. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield slid to 2.189% Friday from 2.197% Thursday, according to data from Tradeweb. Yields move inversely to prices.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, was down 0.2%.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its biggest decline in three months.

"The markets are having a wobble because they don't like the tweets and the dismissal of business councils," said John Redwood, chief global strategist at Charles Stanley.

U.S. corporate earnings led premarket activity. Retailer Ross Stores Inc. was one of the biggest gainers, up 9.7% after beating sales expectations in its earnings. Shoe retailer Foot Locker Inc. tumbled 19.5% after its earnings early Friday failed to meet analyst expectations on profit and sales.

Retailers in the U.S. have been releasing mixed results on earnings throughout the week.

Agricultural company Deere & Co. shares in premarket trade were down 4.4% after its sales figures fell short of expectations.

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

The Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.2%, and has suffered its largest weekly decline since mid-May. There was added pressure from the advance of the yen against the dollar, last up 0.5%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 1.1%, 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. Investors fear returns are falling due to slower growth, he said, while risks remain abundant.

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.

Ese Erheriene, Kosaku Narioka and Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2017 09:14 ET (13:14 GMT)