World shares mixed on fears of higher US tariffs on China

An investor sits in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as traders were unsure if reported efforts by the U.S. and China to restart trade talks would bear fruit. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

SINGAPORE — World stocks were mixed Wednesday on uncertainties over trade, as news the U.S. and China may be working to reopen talks was overshadowed by reports the U.S. wants even higher tariffs on Chinese imports.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 1 percent to 7,671 and Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 12,795. France's CAC 40 was flat at 5,513. Wall Street was set for a subdued open, with Dow futures down 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures roughly flat.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to 22,746.70 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,307.07. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 1.8 percent to 2,824.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.9 percent to 28,340.74. Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 6,275.70. Shares were higher in Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the situation, that U.S. and Chinese officials are looking for ways to reopen trade talks. Earlier this month, both nations placed import taxes on $34 billion worth of goods, and they've been threatening more severe measures. In another report, Bloomberg said the Trump administration will propose raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent, from the planned 10 percent. It cited three people familiar with internal negotiations. If proven true, negotiations may be a long-drawn affair even if both parties agree to start talking.

MANUFACTURING: On Tuesday, private surveys showed that manufacturing was slowing in China, Japan and Britain. So-called purchasing managers' indexes, which measure business activity, dipped for all three, indicating that the sector may be showing early signs of the impact of tariffs, which raise prices for companies.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "There were clearly some negatives for markets in news that the U.S. was planning to raise tariffs on China. Although PMI readings from China and Japan were not stunningly bad, they added to the negative turn in the region today," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

APPLE EARNINGS: Apple made more money from higher priced iPhones in the latest quarter, even as the number of phones it sold did not change much. Apple unit sales rose just 1 percent from a year ago, but the average selling price grew 20 percent to $724 per iPhone, up from $606 a year ago. Its stocks climbed 2.5 percent to $195.14 in aftermarket trading on Tuesday, after the company's reported third-quarter profit and sales were better than analysts expected. If the shares open sharply higher, that would make Apple close to being the first company worth $1 trillion.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 72 cents to $68.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 2 percent to settle at $68.76 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 72 cents to $74.25 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.91 yen from 111.83 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1687 from $1.1697.

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