A currency trader walks by a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower Tuesday amid anxiety the U.S.-Chinese trade war will hurt already slowing global economic growth. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Global stocks follow Wall Street lower on trade war jitters

August 13, 2019 - 4:48 am

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets followed Wall Street lower Tuesday amid anxiety the U.S.-Chinese trade war will hurt already slowing global economic growth.

Market benchmarks in London and Frankfurt opened lower, while Shanghai and Tokyo closed down. Hong Kong's main index lost 2.1% as pro-democracy protesters crowded into the territory's airport for a second day.

Markets in Japan, India and Southeast Asia were reopening following holidays.

Investor anxiety has been fed by President Donald Trump's threat of new U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese goods, protests in Hong Kong and weaker-than-expected data from India, Argentina and Singapore.

"The global economy is perched precariously, hoping for a positive inflection, but braced for a stumble," said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

In early trading, London's FTSE 100 lost 0.3% to 7,205.87 and Frankfurt's DAX retreated 0.4% to 11,627.53. France's CAC 40 was 0.4% lower at 5,289.21.

On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.2%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 2,797.26 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.1% to 20,455.41. Seoul's Kospi lost 0.8% to 1,925.83 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gave up 0.3% to 6,568.50.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank to 25,291.28 as protesters crowded into Chek Lap Kok airport. The airport canceled flights Monday evening after protesters who are demanding the resignation of the territory's leader and more democratic freedoms filled its main building.

Markets in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also retreated.

Investors were rattled by a Chinese government statement Monday saying the mostly nonviolent Hong Kong protests "show the sprouts of terrorism" and were an "existential threat" to the population.

Beijing's use of the term terrorism "triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets," said Stephen Innes of VM Markets in a report.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 had its biggest decline in a week, losing 1.2%, while the Dow fell 1.5%, or 389.73 points. The Nasdaq composite dropped 1.2%.

Selling was widespread. Technology companies and banks accounted for a big share of the decline.

Investors sought safety in U.S. government bonds, sending their yields tumbling. The price for gold, another traditional safe-haven asset, closed higher.

Trump has promised 10% tariffs on some $300 billion in Chinese imports that haven't already been hit with tariffs of 25%. The new tariff would go into effect Sept. 1 and more directly affect U.S. consumers.

Last week, Trump said he'd be "fine" if the U.S. and China don't go ahead with a meeting next month, dampening investors' hopes for a resolution.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 13 cents to $54.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 43 cents on Monday to close at $54.93. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 13 cents to $58.45 per barrel in London. It added 4 cents the previous session to $58.57.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 105.25 yen from Monday's 105.30 yen. The euro declined to $1.1190 from $1.1214.

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