BANGKOK (AP) — Shares fell Thursday in Europe and Asia, with South Korea‘s benchmark sinking 1.8 percent, after talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended abruptly without an agreement.
The two leaders left the hotel where they met Thursday much earlier than expected and a lunch and joint agreement signing ceremony were cancelled.
By cutting short their meeting, the two leaders foiled hopes for an agreement with tangible progress toward ending the North’s nuclear program that could have raised confidence across the region, especially in South Korea.
In early European trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.7 percent to 7,056.63 while the DAX in Germany fell 0.4 percent to 11,439.33. The CAC 40 in France lost 0.2 percent to 5,212.96. Shares in New York looked set for a downbeat start, with the future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3 percent at 25,918.00 and that for the S&P 500 0.4 percent lower at 2,784.80.
Trump described his meetings with Kim as “interesting” and “very productive” but said he had to walk away from signing a deal that would involve lifting sanctions imposed against North Korea for its nuclear program.
Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer comment to U.S. lawmakers that “much still needs to be done” before the U.S. and China can reach agreement in talks over Beijing’s technology strategy and other issues raised doubts over progress in those negotiations.
The two sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s products. To allow time for more talks, Trump postponed increasing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods that would have been effective March 2. He has not given a new date for the higher tariffs if negotiations falter.
China has offered to make major purchases of U.S. goods, such as soybeans and natural gas, in a bid to resolve the conflict, but Lighthizer said such steps wouldn’t be enough.
“The issues on the table are too serious to be resolved with promises of additional purchases,” he said. “We need new rules.”
There was more discouraging economic news from China, where a survey released Thursday showed manufacturing activity fell to a three-year low in February amid the tariff battle with Washington.
The monthly purchasing managers’ index by the government statistics bureau and an industry group fell 0.3 points to 49.2 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate activity contracting. That was the lowest level since February 2016.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index skidded 0.8 percent to 21,385.16 while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4 percent to 2,940.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.4 percent to 28,633.18, while Australia’s S&P ASX/200 added 0.3 percent to 6,169.00. India’s Sensex added 0.3 percent to 36,000.08.
ENERGY: U.S. crude lost 27 cents to $56.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed 2.6 percent to settle at $56.94 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 42 cents to $66.16 per barrel. It gained 1.9 percent to close at $66.58 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 110.78 yen from 110.99 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1384 from $1.1367.
By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press