Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. Asian shares were mixed Thursday after officials signaled work remains to be done on an agreement for a truce in the tariff war between the U.S. and China. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Global shares mixed on caution over Brexit, China-US trade

October 17, 2019 - 4:54 am

BANGKOK (AP) — World shares were mixed Thursday as investors waited to see if Britain and the European Union will be able to reach an agreement on the UK's departure from the bloc.

Talks were still underway as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his 27 EU counterparts were converging on Brussels for a summit that may or may not yield a deal on a split.

The FTSE 100 in London added 0.4% to 7,199.32 after Johnson's Northern Irish government allies, whose support he needs to push any deal past a deeply divided parliament, said they would not back his compromise proposals.

Germany's DAX was nearly flat at 12,674.50, while in Paris, the CAC 40 edged 0.1% lower. Wall Street futures were slightly higher, with the contract for the S&P 500 up 0.1% at 2,993.90. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly flat, at 26,944.00.

Hong Kong led gains in Asia after its chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced help Wednesday for the property sector. The semi-autonomous city's economy has been languishing amid months of increasingly violent political protests that are in part fueled by the sky-high cost of housing.

The Hang Seng index added 0.7% to 26,848.49, but elsewhere sentiment was tepid. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1% to 22,451.86 while the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.1% to 2,977.33.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.8% to 6,684.70 and the Kospi in Seoul gave up 0.2% to 2,077.94. India's Sensex jumped 0.9% to 38,968.58.

Investors are awaiting the release of Chinese data on Friday that will likely show the world's second largest economy slowed further in the July-September quarter given the toll the trade dispute is taking on the export manufacturing sector.

A move on Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives to show support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong appeared to dim some investor optimism about the prospects for progress in the latest trade talks between the U.S. and China.

On Friday, the U.S. agreed to suspend a planned hike in tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods that had been set to kick in Tuesday. Beijing, meanwhile, agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products.

But in a White House news conference on Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that officials were still ironing out details of their preliminary agreement.

President Donald Trump has said he does not expect to sign an agreement until next month, when he is due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the regional Asian Economic Cooperation, or APEC, forum in Chile in November.

In other trading, benchmark crude oil lost 38 cents to $52.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 55 cents to settle at $53.36 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 32 cents to $59.10 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 108.84 Japanese yen from 108.76 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1088 from $1.1073.

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