Wed. 8:50 a.m.: Global stocks subdued as trade dispute remains in focus

A currency trader watches the computer monitors today near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea. Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher today after President Donald Trump downplayed his escalating tariff war with Beijing and said a settlement is possible.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BEIJING (AP) — Stock markets mostly turned lower in European trading today over the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, even though President Donald Trump said a settlement was still possible.

London’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent to 7,235 while France’s CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 5,321. Despite a report that Germany returned to growth in the first quarter, the DAX slid more than 0.4 percent to 11,939. Europe’s biggest economy grew by 0.4 percent during the January-March period after a difficult few quarters, thanks to solid consumer spending and boom.

On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 0.2 percent to 2,833 while the same for the Dow Jones industrial average also declined 0.2 percent, to 25,508.

Benchmarks in Shanghai and Tokyo closed higher as investors tried to figure out the costs of U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

Trump threw financial markets into turmoil with his surprise May 5 announcement of plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent. When that went ahead Friday, Beijing retaliated by raising duties on $60 billion of American goods.

Investors worry that in addition to depressing trade, the fight sparked by U.S. complaints about China’s technology ambitions might hurt consumer and business confidence, weakening spending and investment.

On Tuesday, some markets steadied after Trump said the conflict was a “little squabble” between friends.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended up 1.9 percent at 2,938.68 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 28,268.71 as investors also digested figures showing China’s factory output and consumer spending weakened in April as the tariff war intensified. The data prompted suggestions that the Chinese government will prop up economic growth with more government spending, a possibility that could support stock markets.

Tokyo’s Nikkei advanced 0.6 percent to 21,188.56 and Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 2,092.78. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.7 percent higher at 6,284.20 while India’s Sensex gained 0.3 percent to 37,437.01. Taiwan and New Zealand advanced while Southeast Asian markets retreated.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 60 cents to $61.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 74 cents on Tuesday to close at $61.78. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 34 cents per barrel in London to $70.90. It jumped $1.01 the previous session to $71.24.

CURRENCY: The dollar slipped to 109.39 yen from Tuesday’s 109.61 yen. The euro fell to $1.1183 from $1.1208.

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