Shares declined on world markets on Monday as investors awaited developments in the China-U.S. trade war saga after President Donald Trump said Washington had not agreed to gradually roll back tariffs as negotiations progress.
Britain’s FTSE fell 0.6% to 7,316.49 while the CAC 40 in Paris was flat at 5,889.57. Germany’s DAX shed 0.2% to 13,196.21. Wall Street looked set for losses with futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3%.
In Asia, Hong Kong led the retreat, with the Hang Seng losing 2.6% to 26,926.55 after a police officer shot and wounded a protester.
Later, a man was in critical condition after he was set on fire during an argument in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Uncertainty has risen in the city after more than five months of protests that began with a fight over an extradition bill that has expanded to include demands for greater democracy and police accountability.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Shanghai Composite index declined 1.8% to 2,909.97, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to 23,331.84. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.6% to 2,124.09 while the Sensex in India lost 0.1% to 40,287.29.
Australia’s S&P ASX/200 was the sole major index to advance, gaining 0.7% to 6,772.50. Taiwan’s benchmark dropped 1.3% and shares were lower in Southeast Asia.
Hopes for a breakthrough in the trade standoff between Beijing and Washington were shaken when Trump on Friday dismissed a Chinese official’s assertion that the U.S. side had agreed to gradually lift tariffs on Chinese goods that it has imposed in the conflict over trade and technology policies.
A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman had said Thursday that the two sides had agreed to a phased cancellation of their tariff hikes as part of an agreement now under negotiation.
“They’d like to have a rollback,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”
That raised doubts over progress officials had suggested was being made in finalizing a “Phase 1” deal that was announced on Oct. 12.
A private sector source with knowledge of the talks said there is disagreement within the White House over whether and by how much to roll back 15% duties imposed on Sept. 1 on $112 billion of goods.
“It will be the U.S.-China trade talks that will continue to dictate the daily swings in sentiment this week,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
“What matters is getting some sort of interim trade deal across the line for both sides. President Trump’s comments sounded more like a negotiating tactic than an actual threat, and Wall Street seemed to agree.”
Shares in New York ended last week with healthy gains, though stocks wobbled between small gains and losses on Friday amid the conflicting signals about the trade talks.
In the end, the S&P 500 rallied in the last hour of trading, closing at a record 3,093.08, up 0.3%. That was the fifth straight week of gains for the index, which matches its longest winning streak in the last two years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1%, to 27,681.24, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5% to 8,475.31.
In other trading, benchmark crude oil lost 75 cents to $56.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 9 cents on Friday to settle at $57.24 a barrel.
Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 70 cents to $61.81 per barrel. It rose 22 cents on Friday to $62.51 a barrel.
The dollar fell to 109.00 Japanese yen from 109.18 yen on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1035 from $1.1021.