World shares mixed as investors watch Trump's China visit
World shares were mixed Thursday after Japan's stock benchmark failed to sustain a strong rally and as investors monitored U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares were uneven in early trading. France's CAC 40 edged up 0.1 percent to 5,479.13 but Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent to 7,511.21. Germany's DAX was nearly flat at 13,386.26. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent to 23,474.00 and broader S&P 500 futures slipped 0.1 percent to 2,588.20.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged as much as 2 percent to its highest level in more than a quarter century before giving up gains and falling 0.2 percent to close at 22,868.71. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 percent to 2,560.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.8 percent to 29,136.57, and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China rose 0.4 percent to 3,427.79. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.6 percent to 6,049.40. Taiwan's benchmark fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.
TOKYO RALLY: The Nikkei's surge in initial trading to its highest level since January 1992 came after a poor monthly machinery orders report added to expectations that central bank policymakers will maintain stimulus measures to prop up the economy. Early weakness in the yen and upbeat corporate earnings also helped lift investor sentiment. But the gains couldn't be sustained and the Nikkei turned negative in the afternoon session.
TRUMP TRIP: On Trump's second day in Beijing, U.S. and Chinese business leaders signed additional business agreements worth more than $250 billion in a ceremony attended by Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The deals included sales of U.S.-made chipsets, jet engines and auto parts, though they did not excite market watchers because some were non-binding contracts and many would have been made anyway but were saved for the trip. After the signing, Trump criticized the "very one-sided and unfair" trade relationship between the two countries but added he doesn't blame Beijing for taking advantage of the U.S.
QUOTEWORTHY: Such deals are important for maintaining good U.S.-China trading relations battered by Trump's dislike of swollen U.S. trade deficits, said Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING. "The improved economic relations with China will be key for the U.S. in keeping its own economic strength going and keeping the North Korea threat at bay, which is what matters for a sustained global growth and positive investor sentiments toward risky assets."
CURRENCIES: The dollar retreated to 113.49 yen from 113.88 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro eased to $1.1594 from $1.1595.
ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 6 cents to $56.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 39 cents to settle at $56.81 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 2 cents to $63.47 a barrel in London.