World stocks were mixed Friday amid U.S. political uncertainties following President Donald Trump’s dismissal of the FBI chief. Investors also were cautious ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from wealthy nations to discuss economic growth, while Chinese markets rose after news of a trade deal with Washington.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 12,736 and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent to 7,407. France’s CAC 40 was 0.2 percent higher at 5,391. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent and the broader S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2 percent.
TRUMP’S TROUBLES: The continuing fallout over President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey is making investors wary of taking on more risk and raises questions about whether he can follow through on his business-friendly agenda, analysts said.
QUOTEWORTHY: “The political noise continues to escalate over Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA. “This storyline has clearly rattled equity investors, given this political cloud could cripple the fragile support for Trump’s tax policy.”
GROUP OF SEVEN: Finance ministers from seven of the world’s advanced economies are gathering in Italy this weekend. The officials from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States are expected to discuss ways to promote economic growth. Also on the agenda: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will explain Trump’s plans to cut business taxes and regulations and outline the administration’s economic policies, including its stance on trade.
CHINA-U.S. TRADE: A trade deal announced on Friday Asia time would allow U.S. companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of U.S. beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves. It covers a range of long-standing barriers from agriculture to energy to the operation of U.S. financial firms in China.
DATA DUMP: Investors will be assessing reports for fresh insight into the health of the global economy, starting with German first-quarter data that showed economic growth gathered pace by expanding 0.6 percent. Other figures due out include U.S. inflation and retail sales numbers and Chinese money supply and credit data.
ASIA’s DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4 percent to close at 19,883.90 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 2,286.02. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent higher to 25,156.34 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China was 0.7 percent higher at 3,083.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.7 percent to 5,836.90. Taiwan’s benchmark fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 5 cents to $47.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $47.83 per barrel Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 10 cents to $50.87 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 113.83 yen from 113.86 yen in late Thursday trading. The euro strengthened to $1.0874 from $1.0862.