Stocks Mostly Lower As China-U.S. Tariffs Moves Loom

BANGKOK (AP) -

World stocks were mostly lower Wednesday as tech shares in particular were hit by worries over trade tensions between China and the U.S. Trading volumes were subdued as U.S. markets remained closed.

Germany’s DAX shed 0.3% to close at 12,317.61 while the CAC 40 of France edged higher by less than 0.1% to finish at 5,320.50. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3% to end at 7,573.09. Wall Street was closed for Independence Day.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3 percent to 21,717.04 and the Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.1 percent to 2,759.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.1 percent to 28,241.67 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.2 percent to 2,265.46. Australia’s S&P ASX/200 gave up 0.4 percent to 6,183.40.

On Friday the U.S. is set to impose a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. And China is expected to strike back with tariffs on a similar amount of U.S. exports. The big question is how far the two countries will go in their dispute over trade. The Trump administration has said it won’t target an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods until it gathers further public comments. It’s also identifying an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods for 10 percent tariffs, which could take effect if Beijing retaliates.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday the European Union will strive to avoid a trade war with the United States. But Washington needs to join in that effort, Merkel said. President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports and is mulling whether to add tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts.

Reported comments by the head of China’s central bank saying he’s closely watching the recent slide in the value of the yuan against the dollar have helped reassure investors. People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said financial risks were under control and the China’s international balance of payments and currency flows were stable.

“The statement puts paid to any fears that the PBOC could be engineering a depreciation to cushion the economy,” Chang Weiliang of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. The yuan ended trading Wednesday at 6.66 to the dollar.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell back, losing 30 cents to $73.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 20 cents to $74.14 a barrel on Tuesday, reaching more than $75 a barrel in early trading. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 33 cents to $78.09 per barrel.