Stocks mixed amid US-China trade talks, Italian politics

Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors watched developments in the U.S.-China trade relations and Italy's move toward forming a euroskeptic government.

KEEPING SCORE: London's FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent to 7,870 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 13,092. France's CAC 40 was roughly flat at 5,635 and Italy's FTSE MIB was up 0.4 percent at 23, 179. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 both advanced 0.2 percent.

U.S.-CHINA TRADE: Investors are monitoring developments in the trade spate between the U.S. and China. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that the United States postponed its proposal to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth up to $150 billion. That helped ease concerns the two biggest economies might be headed for a trade war. President Donald Trump is threatening the tariff hike over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. The two sides gave no indication how much progress they made toward ending their dispute and said hostilities could revive.

ITALIAN POLITICS: The euroskeptic 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League identified a 53-year-old law professor with no political experience as their pick to become Italy's next premier. The prospect of a 5-Star-League government has weighed on markets as investors worry about their agenda, which includes undoing pension reforms, a minimum salary for struggling Italians and a flat tax. Economists and European Union policymakers worry that will increase Italy's already heavy debt burden. Italy's 10-year bond yield has risen to 2.3 percent from 1.7 percent last month, a sign of investor caution.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index spent most of the day in negative territory before closing up 0.5 points at 3,214.35. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to 22,960.34. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 tumbled 0.7 percent to 6,041.90 and India's Sensex added 0.1 percent to 34,646.42. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for holidays. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $72.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped 98 cents on Monday to close at $72.35. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 34 cents to $79.56 per barrel in London. It added 71 cents the previous session to $79.22.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 110.98 yen from Monday's 111.03 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1813 from $1.1791.