Saturday July 4th, 2020 1:01AM

Global stocks lower ahead of US-China trade talks

By The Associated Press
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BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly lower Monday as investors looked ahead to U.S.-Chinese trade talks and the Federal Reserve's update on its U.S. interest rate outlook.

Benchmarks in London, Frankfurt and Shanghai declined while Hong Kong advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday and India was closed for elections.

On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index hit a new high Friday while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also eked out a gain but ended the week down.

U.S. and Chinese officials hold more negotiations this week on ending a bruising tariff war over Beijing's technology ambitions. Both sides say they are making progress, which has helped to defuse anxiety that has battered global financial markets.

The Fed board meets Tuesday and is due to issue a statement the following day on its interest rate outlook.

"Traders will be nervously watching for changes in its dovish outlook," said Jeffrey Halley of OANDA in a report. "My guess is these nerves are misplaced, and the Fed will happily keep its powder dry with the optionality to cut if needed."

In early trading, London's FTSE 100 lost 0.2% to 7,409.96 and Germany's DAX fell 0.4% to 12,269.17. France's CAC 40 declined 0.4% to 5,548.73.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and Dow were nearly unchanged.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.8% to 3,062.50 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 6,359.30.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1% to 29,892.81 while the Kospi in Seoul was 1.7% higher at 2,216.43.

Benchmarks in New Zealand and Southeast Asia advanced while Taiwan declined.

Investors also looked ahead to Chinese manufacturing surveys this week. China's economic growth rate held steady in the latest quarter despite the tariff war with Washington, fueling optimism the country's downturn is bottoming out.

The latest data, along with the Fed report, may give reasons to "maintain optimism" but "there are signs that optimism is stretched," said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

"Especially if China tempers stimulus, the Fed hesitates on further easing and the details of a trade deal reveal trouble spots," he said.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 58 cents to $62.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.91 on Friday to close at $63.30.

Oil prices increased during the first quarter after OPEC and Russia to limit production. More recently, prices have risen after Washington announced it will end waivers from sanctions for countries that import oil from Iran, including China, India, Japan and South Korea.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 72 cents to $70.91 per barrel in London. The contract fell $2 the previous session to $71.63.

In currency trading, the dollar gained to 111.71 yen from Friday's 111.58 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1162 from $1.1149.

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