Global stocks steady as US markets appear to lose momentum

Global stock markets traded in fairly narrow ranges Wednesday amid signs that Wall Street is taking a breather ahead of a long holiday weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent at 12,548 while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent to 5,496. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.4 percent lower at 7,590. U.S. markets were set for a tepid open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent.

NAFTA: Canada's foreign minister said she had a "constructive conversation" with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Chrystia Freeland arrived in Washington for talks after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. While some experts think stocks could rally if the U.S. and its partners make progress on new trade deals, others say it is unclear how much tensions have harmed stocks.

WALL STREET: Hopes that a global trade war can be averted have helped shore up U.S. stock markets over recent days and on Tuesday the S&P closed at a record high. With the U.S. gearing up for the long Labor Day weekend, a holiday that traditionally marks the end of the summer lull in markets, investors around the world are wary of staking out fresh positions.

ANALYST TAKE: "U.S. markets look like they are running out of momentum for the time being, with the upcoming long weekend likely to be the culprit for some usual profit-taking," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 22,848.22 while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent to 2,769.29. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 28,416.44 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.3 percent to 2,309.03. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 6,352.20 and India's Sensex shed 0.4 percent to 38,722.93.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 53 cents to $69.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 44 cents to $76.39 in London.

CURRENCY: The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.1663 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 111.30 yen.