TOKYO – Global stock markets were subdued Tuesday after China said its top trade envoy and other senior officials spoke by phone with U.S. negotiators.
The lackluster trading followed a rally of technology shares on Wall Street prompted by China’s new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights. Theft of intellectual property has been a big sticking point in the U.S.-China trade war.
The guidelines may be an encouraging sign for negotiations on the first phase of a deal to end the tariff war between the world’s two largest economies. Yet the talks have for been fitful in recent months, leading investors to remain cautious.
France’s CAC 40 slipped nearly 0.1% to 5,921 while Germany’s DAX was down 0.2% to 13,219. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1% to 7,405.
U.S. shares were set to be little changed with Dow and S&P 500 futures up less than 0.1%.
An announcement by China’s Commerce Ministry early Tuesday that top trade negotiators from both sides spoke by phone and agreed to continue talks did not seem to spur significant gains. That might be because the vaguely worded notice did not mention specifics or indicate how much progress has been made.
Earlier, the plan was that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping might meet and sign an agreement at a Pacific Rim summit in Chile. That was cancelled due to political unrest, and so far there has been no announcement of plans for a meeting elsewhere.
In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 0.4% to finish at 23,373.32. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8% to 6,787.50. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.1% to 2,121.35. India’s Sensex added 0.1% to 40,950.28 and the Shanghai Composite was flat at 2,907.06.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.2% to 26,939.21, despite a relatively strong start for e-commerce giant Alibaba, whose shares began trading on the Hong Kong exchange on Tuesday.
Alibaba’s shares rose 6.6% to 187.60 Hong Kong dollars ($23.96). The offering price for the shares was set at 176 Hong Kong dollars.
ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 14 cents to $58.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 24 cents on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 12 cents to $62.74 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was flat at 108.95 Japanese yen. The euro was also roughly unchanged at $1.1017.