Trade tensions stalk markets at start of busy earnings week

July 23, 2018
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A currency trader walks by the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 23, 2018. Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday as concerns over trade tensions moved to the forefront at the meeting this weekend of the Group of 20 industrial nations. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

LONDON (AP) — Stock markets around the world have started the new week on a flat note as trade tensions hogged the headlines following a weekend meeting of financial leaders of the Group of 20 industrial nations. Trade issues are likely to dominate the week though a raft of U.S. corporate earnings statements could well provide some distraction for investors.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent to 12,533 while the CAC 40 in France was 0.6 percent lower at 5,365. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.3 percent at 7,658. U.S. stocks were poised for a lower opening with Dow futures and the S&P 500 futures were 0.1 percent lower.

G-20 CONCERNS: G-20 finance ministers and central bankers called Sunday for more dialogue on trade disputes that threaten global economic growth. Their communique said that although the global economy remains strong, growth is becoming “less synchronized” and risks such as financial vulnerabilities, heightened trade and geopolitical tensions and global imbalances have grown. The Group of 20 nations is composed of traditional economic powers such as the United States, Japan and Germany and emerging nations such as China, Brazil, India and Argentina.

ANALYST TAKE: “Equity markets are trading slightly in the red at the start of the week, a reflection of the slightly risk averse tone stemming from the prospect of the trade conflict escalating in the coming months,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

US EARNINGS. With a third of the companies in the S&P 500 set to report second-quarter earnings this week, there’s room for investors to focus on things other than trade. So far, earnings have been generally better than expected, reinforcing the underlying perception in financial markets is that the U.S. economy is performing strongly and that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent to 22,396.99 and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.9 percent to 2,269.31. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 28,256.12. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.1 percent to 2,859.54, recouping Friday’s sharp losses. Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent to 6,227.60.

CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1716 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 111.12 yen.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 75 cents to $69.01 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 87 cents to $73.94.