World Stocks Mostly Fall on Possible US-China Tariffs

September 7, 2018 Updated: September 18, 2018

SINGAPORE—Global stock markets mostly fell on Sept. 7 as traders mulled over the effects of possible U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and looked ahead to U.S. jobs data.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent to 5,230, while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gave up 1 percent to 7,249.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent to 11,927, after the country’s trade surplus dipped to four-year low.

U.S. indexes are set for a subdued open. Dow futures dropped 0.2 percent and the broader S&P 500’s futures shed 0.1 percent.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent to 22,307.06.

The Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.3 percent to 2,281.58.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which has dropped 18 percent since its peak in late January, was almost flat at 26,973.47.

The Shanghai Composite index was 0.4 percent higher at 2,702.30.

Shares were lower in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to 6,143.80.

U.S.-China Tensions

The Trump administration may impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, after a public comment period ended Sept.6.

The imports are equal to nearly 40 percent of all the goods China sold in the U.S. last year.

Doing so would escalate a confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies and likely squeeze U.S. companies that import everything from handbags to bicycle tires.

“The market is risk-off and pricing in the effects of new tariffs. It’s a done deal as far as investors are concerned,” said Francis Tan, investment strategist at UOB Private Bank.

Investors are expecting a string of U.S. releases on Sept.7, such as the latest unemployment rate.

Economists have forecast that employers added 189,000 jobs in August and that the unemployment rate dipped from an already-low 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent.

In the coming week, the markets will also be looking out for Chinese data, including the country’s year-on-year foreign direct investment and industrial output.

Next week’s Bank of England and European Central Bank meetings could also affect sentiment.

By Annabelelle Liang