Asian shares mostly lower as investors watch trade talks

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TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed Friday as nervous investors await developments in the U.S.-China trade talks in Washington.

European shares rose, with France’s CAC 40 gaining 0.3 percent in midday trading to 5,212. Germany’s DAX was up 0.6 percent at 11,487 and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 7,204.

U.S. shares were set to open higher as Dow futures rose 0.5 percent to 25,970. S&P 500 futures also rose close to 0.5 percent, to 2,786.

A hodge-podge of recent economic data is fueling concerns over risks to global growth and the world’s two biggest economies are locked in a trade war spurred by U.S. contentions that China uses predatory tactics in a quest to overtake U.S. technological dominance, including pressuring American companies to hand over trade secrets and in some cases stealing them outright.

The Trump administration has warned it will increase its import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent if the two sides haven’t reached a resolution by March 2. But Trump in recent days has signaled a willingness to extend the deadline if negotiators are making progress.

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“The trade talks do appear to have made some progress. However, a run of weak data from Japan, Europe and the U.S. yesterday took the wind out of the equity market sails,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

KRAFT HEINZ TROUBLE: Shares in Kraft Heinz plunged 20 percent before the opening bell Friday. The company disclosed an investigation by federal regulators and said it will slash the value of its Oscar Mayer brands by $15.4 billion, leading to a $12.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter.

THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down 0.2 percent to finish at 21,425.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 6,167.30. South Korea’s Kospi was unchanged at 2,230.50, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 28,762.75. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.9 percent to 2,804.23.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 50 cents to $57.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It slid 0.3 percent to settle at $56.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 40 cents to $67.47.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.86 yen from 110.70 yen on Thursday. The euro made a modest gain to $1.1343 from $1.1338.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en

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Ott reported from Madrid.

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