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Sunday June 24th, 2018 1:13AM

Stock markets mixed ahead of Trump-Kim meeting

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were higher in mid-day trading Monday amid preparations for President Donald Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average added 57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,372 as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,788 and the Nasdaq composite rose 30 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,677.

NORTH KOREA TALKS: U.S. and North Korean officials were preparing for a meeting Tuesday between Trump and Kim aimed at settling the standoff over the North's nuclear arsenal. North Korea has reportedly said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits. But many say Kim's government is unlikely to give up weapons that help guarantee its survival.

TRADE TENSIONS: Trump took more swipes at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, contending that "Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal."

Trump roiled a weekend meeting of the Group of Seven major industrial economies by agreeing to a group statement only to rapidly withdraw from it while complaining about Trudeau's criticism of his tariff threats. After leaving Canada, Trump called Trudeau "dishonest" and "weak" on Twitter. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she found Trump's tweet disavowing the G-7 statement "a little depressing."

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The Trump-Kim summit is the massive event that has a far-reaching regional implication. While the markets had low expectations going into G-7, assumptions are running high, so if the talks somehow go sideways, there could be a reasonably aggressive regional risk-off move," said Stephen Innes of currency trader Oanda in a report.

EURO WATCH: Italy's markets jumped after the economy minister said the country's new populist government isn't considering leaving the eurozone or adding to the high public debt load. The statement was the strongest yet on the topic from an official in the new government. Markets fell sharply last month on worries that the new administration might consider pulling Italy out of the euro or weakening its role in the currency.

European markets closed broadly higher. Italy's main stock index jumped 3.4 percent, Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent and France's CAC-40 index rose 0.4 percent.

ON FIRE: Utility company PG&E dropped $1.86, or 4.5 percent, to $39.60 after California authorities said a series of wildfires were caused by PG&E's equipment, raising liability implications for the company.

POSSIBLE BUYOUT: Boston Scientific jumped $2.86, or 9 percent, to $34.80 after The Wall Street Journal reported that that Stryker offered to purchase the medical device company. Stryker shares fell $5.44, or 3 percent, to $173.51.

CENTRAL BANKS: Looking ahead, investors are keeping an eye on key central bank meetings this week. The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting on interest rates on Wednesday. Investors expect the nation's central bank to raise interest rates from their current level of 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 46 cents to $66.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 86 cents to $76.46 per barrel in London.

____

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report from Beijing.

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