Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Asian shares were little changed and mixed in quiet trading Tuesday amid a lack of fresh market-moving news as investors looked ahead to earnings season. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Global shares mixed in lackluster trading, Nikkei falls 0.7%

July 16, 2019 - 4:32 am

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were little changed and mixed in quiet trading Tuesday amid a lack of fresh market-moving news as investors looked ahead to earnings season.

France's CAC 40 inched up 0.1% in early trading to 5,584.67, while Germany's DAX was flat at 12,387,54. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to 7,555.49.

U.S. shares also looked set for a slow start, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly unchanged at 27,347. S&P 500 futures gained less than 0.1% to 3,017.70.

One factor weighing on sentiment is the impasse between the U.S. and China over trade.

The White House's repeated threats to raise tariffs further in retaliation for the U.S. trade deficit and policies that critics say are unfair has made companies hesitant to invest and has hurt trade internationally. They're a big reason China on Monday reported its weakest quarter of economic growth in at least 26 years.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told reporters in Washington on Monday that he has held "several conversations" with Chinese officials and expects another phone call this week.

The aim is to restart high-level talks that collapsed in May.

"To the extent that we make significant progress I think we'll go there," he said.

In Asian trading, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.7% to finish at 21,535.25. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost nearly 0.2% to 6,641.00. South Korea's Kospi added 0.5% to 2,091.87 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 28,619.62, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2% to 2,937.62.

Shares have jumped since early June on increasing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help the economy, and investors are virtually certain that it will happen at the next Fed meeting at the end of this month. The only question, investors say, is how deeply the Fed will cut when it lowers rates for the first time in a decade.

Until then, the main drivers for the market will likely be the hundreds of earnings reports scheduled to come from big companies, showing how much profit they made from April through June.

Several economic reports are also on the U.S. schedule this week, including updates on retail sales, the housing industry and shoppers' confidence. The U.S. economy has generally remained solid, but investors don't expect this week's reports to alter the direction of the Fed, which has already given hints about rate cuts given weakening economic trends around the world.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 9 cents at $59.49 a barrel. It fell 63 cents on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, shed 9 cents to $66.39 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.03 Japanese yen from 107.98 late Monday. The euro fell to $1.1243 from $1.1258.

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AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Damian J. Troise in New York contributed to this report.

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