World stock markets subdued after weak Japanese growth data

World stock markets subdued after weak Japanese growth data

World stock markets were subdued on Wednesday as China-U.S. trade talks, North Korea’s cancellation of meetings with South Korea and weaker than expected Japanese economic growth weighed on sentiment.


Germany’s DAX added 0.5 percent to 13,028 and the CAC 40 of France edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,558. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent to 7,736. The futures for the S&P 500 climbed 0.1 percent and the future for the Dow was flat, pointing to small gains on Wall Street.


North Korea canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea, threatening to scrap a historic summit next month between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over military exercises between Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang has long claimed are rehearsals for invasion.


As the Trump administration resumes talks in Washington with senior Chinese officials seeking to ward off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, American companies were seeking relief from tariffs the president has threatened to impose on at least $50 billion in Chinese goods.


Japan’s economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent in the January-March quarter, as private investment and public spending declined, according to Cabinet Office data released Wednesday. The latest data showed consumer spending was flat — long a challenge in a country where wages have stagnated for decades.


“Trade friction between the U.S. and other major countries … including China, and prolonged negotiations could weigh on demand for Japanese machinery and electric parts and devices, and delay the recovery in exports,” Nobumasa Takeuchi of IHS Markit said in a commentary.


Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.4 percent to 22,712.23 and the Kospi in South Korea edged less than 0.1 percent higher to 2,459.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent to 31,110.20, but the S&P ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 6,107.00. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.7 percent to 3,169.57 and shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.


Benchmark U.S. crude oil gave up 18 cents to $71.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday it rose 35 cents. Brent crude, used to price international oil, shed 52 cents to $77.91 a barrel in London.


The dollar fell to 110.22 yen from 110.36 yen late Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.1778 from $1.1839.


By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer,By Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC (A.S)