World Stocks Fall on Wednesday 01/23 05:59

World Stocks Fall on Wednesday         01/23 05:59

   Stocks fell sharply Tuesday following new signs the global economy is 
weakening and reports of difficulties in trade talks between the U.S. and 

   SINGAPORE (AP) -- World markets were mostly lower on Wednesday as news of 
possible hiccups in U.S.-China trade talks ratcheted up growth worries.

   KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gave up 0.5 percent to 11,036.81 and the CAC 40 
in France lost 0.3 percent to 4,833.41. Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.6 percent 
lower at 6,858.75. Wall Street was set for a flat opening. The future contract 
for the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.1 percent higher at 24,404.00. The 
contract for the broader S&P 500 index was flat at 2,631.90.

   THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan's Nikkei 225 index shed 0.1 percent to 20,593.72 
after the Bank of Japan kept its short and long term interest rates intact as 
expected but lowered its inflation forecasts. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5 
percent to 2,127.78. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was almost flat at 27,008.20. The 
Shanghai Composite index gained 0.1 percent to 2,581.00. Australia's S&P ASX 
200 slipped 0.3 percent to 5,843.70. Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore and 
Indonesia but rose in Malaysia.

   U.S-CHINA RELATIONS: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow denied 
reports by media outlets including the Financial Times and CNBC saying the U.S. 
had turned down an offer by Chinese trade officials to meet in Washington this 
week, due to a lack of progress on issues such as protection of intellectual 
property. He said both sides are working toward the higher level talks. The 
reports, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, said the preparatory 
discussions were meant to pave the way for meetings between Chinese Vice 
Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer next week. The 
news comes after the International Monetary Fund lowered its global growth 
estimates for 2019 and 2020.

   ANALYST'S TAKE: "The U.S. strategy might be to raise pressure on the Chinese 
ahead of the hard deadline in March, but this makes for uncomfortable 
interpretation by markets, and could potentially induce excessive volatility in 
the interim," Chang Wei Liang of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

   JAPANESE TRADE: On Wednesday, Japan released weaker-than-expected trade data 
for December. The country said its exports fell by 3.8 percent from a year 
earlier, its largest drop in two years. It also posted its first full-year 
trade deficit since 2015. Imports climbed 1.9 percent in December, missing the 
market estimate of a 3.7 percent rise, and way below November's 12.5 percent 
surge. Weaker Japanese exports suggest that a slowdown in China, the world's 
second largest economy, is starting to have an impact on companies elsewhere 
that rely on it for business.

   ENERGY: U.S. crude oil picked up 4 cents to $53.05 per barrel in electronic 
trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed $1.03 lower at 
$53.01 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, 
gained 5 cents to $61.55 per barrel. It dropped $1.24 to $61.50 per barrel in 

   CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.60 yen from 109.37 yen late 
Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1363 from $1.1361. 


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