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Global stocks mixed on backdrop of US-China talks

A currency trader talks on the phone at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 18, 2018. Asian stock markets trade marginally higher as U.S. and Chinese officials are holding a new round of talks to avert a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed on Friday as U.S. and Chinese officials held a new round of talks seeking to avert a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent to 7,773 a day after closing at a record high, while France’s CAC 40 was flat at 5,623. Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent to 13,105. Futures augured small gains on Wall Street with S&P futures up 0.1 percent and Dow futures up 0.3 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian stock markets finished mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent to 22,930.36 and South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.5 percent to 2,460.65. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.3 percent to 31,047.91. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.2 percent to 3,193.30. But Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 6,087.40. Stocks were flat in Taiwan and were mixed in Southeast Asia.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “A lack of data lies ahead of this Friday, leaving the U.S.-China trade developments the key item to occupy the market’s attention into the end of the week,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. “This all leaves risk assets with little guide of a direction.”

TRADE TALKS: The Trump administration has proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. China has countered by targeting $50 billion in U.S. products. Neither country has imposed the tariffs. While fielding questions from reporters Thursday afternoon, Trump suggested the talks may not end up averting a trade war with China: “Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” Trump said. On Friday, China announced it was dropping anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imported U.S. sorghum, saying they were not in the public interest.

ITALIAN JITTERS: Stocks and bonds in Italy were down amid concerns about the potential program of a new populist government. The two rival populist parties are thrashing out a program and the early drafts reportedly included, among other things, measures to quickly ramp up government spending. That would potentially add to the already huge debt pile of the eurozone’s third-largest economy. Italy’s stock index was down 1.2 percent and the 10-year bond yield was up 0.08 percentage points to 2.19 percent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 3 cents to $71.52 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract finished flat at $71.49 per barrel in the previous session. Brent crude, used to price international oil, gained 29 cents to $79.59 per barrel in London. It closed at $79.30 a barrel in the previous day, up 2 cents, after briefly touching above $80 a barrel, its highest level since November 2014.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.98 yen from 110.76 yen. The euro fell to $1.1785 from $1.1795.

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