Malta Independent

Global trade conflict between the US and China still in focus

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European stocks were higher Tuesday morning, as investors’ awaited U.S.-China trade talks, although critical comments from President Donald Trump capped gains and tested market optimism. Market participan­ts are hopeful they might be able to find a way to resolve an ongoing global trade conflict. However, the U.S. president reportedly said he did not “anticipate much” from the discussion­s.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.3% during midmorning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory. Europe’s oil and gas stocks were among the top performers, up around 0.4% amid earnings news. Mining giant BHP Billiton reported a 33% jump in annual underlying profit on Tuesday. However, the world’s largest miner also warned investors of a delay in future savings as well as some cost pressures over the coming months. Shares of the Londonlist­ed stock were more than 1% lower on the news.

In Asia, Chinese markets led gains on Tuesday in a mostly positive trading session across Asia, extending their upward climb from the previous day after the banking regulator urged institutio­ns to boost lending in the country. The Shanghai composite rose 35.36 points, or 1.31%, to 2,733.82 and the Shenzhen composite added 20.20 points, or 1.39%, to 1,471.27.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.37%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed near flat at 22,219.73 while the Topix index fell 6.73 points, or 0.4% to 1,685.42. South Korea’s Kospi rose 22.18 points, or 0.99%, to 2,270.06 with major tech names rising. Shares of Samsung Electronic­s closed up 2.17%, chip-maker SK Hynix added 4.95% and LG Electronic­s rose 1.66%. But major carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.57% and the state-run Korea Electric Power Corporatio­n declined 1.6%.

In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 declined 60.6 points, or 0.96%, to close at 6,284.4, with most sectors falling. The energy sector was down 1.79%, materials was lower by 1.26% and the heavily weighted financials sub index fell 1.33%. Major banking and mining stocks were down.

Meanwhile, in currency markets, the dollar came under pressure overnight after Trump reiterated his displeasur­e at the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. He said the central bank should do more to help his administra­tion boost the U.S. economy. The president’s latest criticism of the Fed comes three days before Friday’s much anticipate­d speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the central bank’s annual Jackson Hole Symposium.

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