Asian shares waver following lackluster Wall St session


BANGKOK (AP) — Shares retreated in Europe on Thursday after a group of German economic research institutes warned of trouble ahead for manufacturing, especially if Britain exits the European Union without a divorce deal.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.2% to 11,936.15 and the CAC 40 in France sank 0.3% percent to 5455.37. The FTSE 100 in Britain tumbled 0.7% to 7,368.80 amid continued strife over arrangements for Britain’s departure from the EU.

Shares on Wall Street looked set for a slow start, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average unchanged at 26,241 and that for the S&P 500 down 0.1% at 2,876.10.

Meetings were planned Thursday between the British government and the opposition Labour Party in an urgent search for a compromise solution for Brexit.

The upper House of Lords was set to consider legislation that would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a delay from the EU. The bill is aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on April 12.

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The group of five leading German economic research institutes slashed their growth forecast to 0.8% from 1.9%, warning that if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, it could get even worse. They said that “political risks have further clouded the global economic environment.”

Shares were mixed in Asia, with the Shanghai Composite jumping 0.9% to 3,246.57 on reports of possible progress in China-U.S. trade talks.

The U.S. and China opened a ninth round of talks Wednesday, aiming to further narrow differences in an ongoing trade war that has deepened uncertainty for businesses and investors and cast a pall over the outlook for the global economy.

The talks followed meetings last week in Beijing, where Larry Kudlow, a top White House economic adviser, said “good headway” was made. He expressed optimism that areas of disagreement could be narrowed further this week.

Markets have swayed for months as the contentious talks drag on. The latest reports say that both sides have resolved most of the key issues, with some pledges from China to end practices viewed by the U.S. as technology theft.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1% to 21,724.95 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2% to 29,936.32. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 sank 0.8% to 6,232.80. The Kospi in South Korea edged 0.2% higher to 2,206.53.

India’s Sensex lost 0.6% to 38,658.22 and shares fell in Thailand and Singapore.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.41 Japanese yen from 111.48 yen on Wednesday. The euro edged down to $1.1232 from $1.1233.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 30 cents to $62.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 0.2% to settle at $62.46 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up 35 cents to $68.96 per barrel.

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