BANGKOK (AP) — World stocks were falling again Thursday on reports that the Trump administration is considering a higher tax rate on Chinese imports, increasing the stakes in the economic powers’ trade war.
KEEPING SCORE: The DAX index in export-reliant Germany tumbled 1.6 percent to 12,534 and the CAC 40 in France lost 0.7 percent to 5,461. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 1.2 percent to 7,559 after the Bank of England raised its main rate by a quarter point. The outlook for Wall Street was downbeat, with the Dow future down 0.6 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.5 percent lower.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index sank 1.0 percent to 22,512.53 while the Shanghai Composite index lost 2.0 percent to 2,768.02. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 2.2 percent to 27,714.38 and the Kospi in South Korea shed 1.6 percent to 2,270.20. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 skidded 0.6 percent to 6,240.90. Shares also fell in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
TRADE TALK: The Trump administration said it might put a 25 percent tax on $200 billion in imports from China. That is up from a 10 percent tax it had proposed in July, shortly after imposing a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of imports. China again threatened to retaliate. The tit-for-tat exchange is increasing risks to the economy, as tariffs make goods more expensive, especially for big manufacturers, which source their parts and raw materials from around the globe.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “The trade tensions are making investors risk-averse today,” said Naeem Aslam of thinkmarkets.
APPLE RECORD: Already the most valuable company in the U.S., Apple was the biggest gainer of any S&P 500 stock Wednesday, surging 5.9 percent to $201.50. That gave the company a value of $973 billion, based on its latest quarterly filing. The tech giant said the average selling price for the iPhone jumped 20 percent in its latest quarter and its third-quarter profit and sales both surpassed analyst projections. Apple’s third fiscal quarter is usually its weakest.
CENTRAL BANKS: As expected, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, but hinted it’s likely to raise rates again in September. High-dividend stocks like consumer products makers sank as bond yields increased. The central bank noted the labor market continues to improve and the economy is growing at a strong clip, while inflation has reached its target of 2 percent a year. In Britain, the Bank of England raised its key rate as expected but said it would be cautious about further increases as uncertainty over Brexit increases in coming months. It raised its main rate to the highest since 2009, when the global financial crisis was tearing through the world economy.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 60 cents at $67.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 2 percent to $67.66 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 38 cents to $72.01 per barrel in London.
CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 111.48 yen from 111.72 yen the day before, while the euro slipped to $1.1619 from $1.1659.