published on December 5, 2018 - 1:52 PM
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(AP) — Global stock prices fell Wednesday, though not as much as Wall Street the day before, amid confusion about what the U.S. and China agreed to in a tariff cease-fire.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 index fell 1.4 percent to close at 6,921.84 and German’s DAX lost 1.2 percent to 11,200.24. France’s CAC 40 retreated 1.4 percent to 4,944.37. U.S. stock trading was closed to mourn the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

ASIA’S DAY: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.6 percent to 26,819.58 and the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.6 percent to 2,649.81. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 percent to 21,919.33 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.8 percent to 5,668.40. Seoul’s Kospi gave up 0.8 percent to 2,101.31 and India’s Sensex was 0.6 percent lower at 35,902.74.

TRADE QUESTIONS: Investor confidence in the U.S.-China agreement faltered after confusing and conflicting comments from President Donald Trump and some senior officials. That revived fears the disagreement between the world’s two biggest economies could slow global growth.

Trump previously said the agreement would lead to sales of American farm goods and cuts in Chinese auto tariffs, but Beijing has yet to confirm that. Trump renewed threats of tariff hikes on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that Washington would have a “real deal” with China or else would charge “major tariffs” on Chinese goods. That cast further doubt on the weekend agreement.

FED WATCH: Markets also got a jolt from remarks by the president of the Fed’s New York regional bank. John Williams said that given his outlook for strong economic growth, he expects “further gradual increases in interest rates will best sponsor a sustained economic expansion.” That seemed to counter Fed Chairman Jay Powell’s remarks last week. The jitters helped drive demand for government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.91 percent from 2.99 percent late Monday, a large move.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Positive sentiment from the China-U.S. trade war truce dissipated quickly,” Eugene Leow and Radhika Rao of DBS Group said in a report. “Questions on trade, worries about U.S. growth and perceived dovishness on the Fed all play a part in explaining these market moves.

Concerns were also compounded by increasing news narrative on inverted curves and risks of a recession.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.7 percent to settle at $52.89 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 0.8 percent to close at $61.56 per barrel in London.

Representatives of oil-producing nations will hold a highly anticipated meeting Thursday in Vienna, with analysts predicting that they will agree on a cut of at least 1 million barrels a day in an effort to bolster prices.

Russian President Vladimir Putin boosted expectations for a deal when he said at the G20 summit over last weekend that Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to extend an attempt by OPEC to balance oil supply and demand, although he provided no figures.

Crude prices began falling in October and continued to plunge last month due to oversupply and fears that weaker global economic growth would dampen energy demand.

In other energy futures trading Wednesday, wholesale gasoline added 0.2 percent to $1.45 a gallon. Heating oil slid 0.6 percent to $1.89 a gallon.

Natural gas picked up 0.3 percent to $4.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 113.19 yen from Wednesday’s 112.82 yen. The euro held steady at $1.1342.

METALS: Gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,242.60 an ounce. Silver slid 0.4 percent to $14.58 an ounce. Copper added 0.5 percent to $2.77 a pound.


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