LONDON - World stocks ended four days of gains on Friday after US President Donald Trump cranked up simmering tensions with China by banning US transactions with two popular Chinese apps, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Tiktok.
With second quarter GDP data showing double digit percentage declines for major economies that may be the worst hits from the coronavirus lockdowns, investors were looking forward to other factors like the US presidential vote and China-US trade.
US stocks opened lower on Friday as data showed a sharp slowdown in US employment growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 65.30 points, or 0.24 percent, at the open to 27,321.68.
The S&P 500 opened lower by 9.11 points, or 0.27 percent, at 3,340.05. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 35.54 points, or 0.32 percent, to 11,072.53 at the opening bell.
European stocks opened lower, with major indexes down between 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent in early trading.
MSCI’s broadest index of world stocks fell 0.2 percent. It was less than 3 percent away from a late February peak.
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1 percent, with China’s indexes down more than 1 percent each, even though Chinese trade data for July showed exports beat expectations.
Risk appetite was also subdued on Friday with hopes fading for a quick deal by US policymakers on stimulus worth at least US$1 trillion to support the country’s fragile economy. The White House and Democrats remained far apart on the size of the stimulus package and what to include.
The risk-off mood pushed US Treasury yields lower and offered a brief respite to the struggling dollar, which has been under pressure in recent weeks. The 10-year US Treasury yield dipped 1.1 basis points to 0.5198 percent, near Thursday’s five-month low of 0.504 percent.
Closely watched US non-farm payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to show an increase of 1.58 million in July, compared with 4.8 million in June.
Gold hit a record high of US$2,075.2 per ounce before succumbing to profit-taking to slip to US$2,063.
Silver dropped 1.7 percent to US$28.452 per ounce following its rise to a seven-year high of US$29.838.
Oil prices were little changed, with Brent futures LCOc1 down 0.1 percent at US$45.04 per barrel.
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