Global Stocks Mixed as Markets Watch Italian Government

An investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage in Beijing, China, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors watched Italy’s moves toward forming a euroskeptic-led government.

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1 percent to 7,867.80 points and Germany’s DAX added 7 points to 13,085.25. France’s CAC 40 lost 4 points to 5,633.53. On Monday, the FTSE 100 gained 1 percent and the CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent, while the German market was closed. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent and that for Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.1 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index spent most of the day in negative territory before closing up 0.5 points at 3,214.35. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to 22,960.34. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 tumbled 0.7 percent to 6,041.90 and India’s Sensex added 0.1 percent to 34,646.42. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for holidays. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia declined.

Industrial and technology companies led gains after Washington and Beijing appeared to make progress in trade talks. The Dow rose 1.2 percent, the S&P added 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent. Boeing Co. gained 3.6 percent and construction equipment maker Caterpillar rose 2.1 percent. General Electric Co. rose 1.9 percent after announcing its train engine division will combine with railroad equipment maker Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States postponed its proposal to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth up to $150 billion. That helped ease investor concerns that the two biggest economies might be headed for a trade war. President Donald Trump is threatening the tariff hike over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. The two sides gave no indication how much progress they made toward ending their dispute and said hostilities could revive.

The euroskeptic 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League identified a 53-year-old law professor with no political experience as their pick to become Italy’s next premier. League leader Matteo Salvini called the candidate, Giuseppe Conte, an expert in trimming bureaucracy, “which is what many companies are asking for.” The prospect of a 5-Star-League government has weighed on markets. Their agenda includes pension changes, a minimum salary for struggling Italians and a flat tax. Economists and European Union policymakers worry that that will increase Italy’s debt burden.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 37 cents to $72.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped 98 cents on Monday to close at $72.35. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 54 cents to $79.76 per barrel in London. It added 71 cents the previous session to $79.22.

The dollar declined to 110.96 yen from Monday’s 111.03 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1826 from $1.1791.