Another threat from President Donald Trump to impose further tariffs on China weighed on stock markets Tuesday while his lukewarm appraisal of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal with the European Union hurt the pound.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.4 percent at 11,311 while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 0.3 percent at 7,014. The CAC 40 in France was 0.4 percent lower at 4,977. U.S. stocks were poised for a lower opening too with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.4 percent.
TRUMP ON TARIFFS: In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said it is "highly unlikely" he'll reverse plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods in January. He also threatened to impose tariffs on more Chinese goods if he fails to broker a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. The two leaders are set to meet on the sidelines of G-20 summit in Argentina, which takes place on Friday and Saturday. Trump said the new tariffs would "maybe" apply to iPhones and laptops imported from China.
TRUMP ON BREXIT: Trump said May's Brexit agreement "sounds like a great deal for the EU" that would make it more difficult for the U.K. to strike a trade deal with the U.S. Trump said that "right now if you look at the deal they may not be able to trade with us, and that wouldn't be a good thing." Brexiteers see a wide-ranging trade deal with the U.S. as one of Britain's main goals after leaving the EU. The pound fell back in the wake of his comments, which have been countered by May Tuesday. It was trading 0.4 percent lower at $1.2766.
ANALYST TAKE: "It's been an encouraging start to the week in financial markets but we got a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead late on Monday, as Trump weighed in on trade and Brexit," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.6 percent to 21,952.40 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 2,099.42. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rallied 1 percent to 5,728.30, while the Shanghai Composite dropped less than 0.1 percent to 2,574.68. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 0.2 percent to 26,331.96. Shares rose in Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines but fell in Singapore and Indonesia.
ENERGY: Oil futures fell on concerns over rising stockpiles and slowing economic growth. OPEC representatives and other major oil producers will meet in Vienna next week to discuss a possible cut in production. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 27 cents to $51.36, while Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 22 cents $60.26.
CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1380 while the dollar was steady at 113.57 yen.