A man rides a bicycle past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Asian indexes mostly slipped Wednesday amid continuing worries about North Korea after the perk from the easing of U.S.-China trade tensions faded. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Global stocks fall amid weak data, worries over Koreas

May 23, 2018 - 7:45 am

TOKYO (AP) — Stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday after weak European economic data and as U.S. President Donald Trump raised doubts that a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un planned for June 12 will take place as planned.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent to 5,576, while Germany's DAX slipped 1.5 percent to 12,977. Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.6 percent lower to 7,830. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.6 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.7 percent lower.

EUROPE'S ECONOMY: A survey suggested that the eurozone economy's weak period at the start of the year may be longer than expected. IHS Markit's so-called purchasing managers' index for the eurozone — a broad gauge of business activity — fell in May to an 18-month low of 54.1 points from 55.1 the previous month. Though any reading above 50 still points to growth, the drop reinforces the argument that a first-quarter slowdown may not have been merely temporary.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 percent to finish at 22,689.74, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.2 percent at 6,032.50. South Korea's Kospi gained nearly 0.3 percent to 2,471.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8 percent to 30,665.64, while the Shanghai Composite index shed 1.4 percent to 3,168.96.

NORTH KOREA: After meeting with South Korea's president, President Donald Trump suggested that the highly anticipated June 12 U.S. summit with North Korea could be delayed. The summit, planned for Singapore, offers a historic chance for peace on the peninsula but also the risk of a diplomatic failure.

U.S.-CHINA TRADE: Trump said the United States and China are working toward an agreement that would ease U.S. sanctions that were imposed on ZTE Corp. and let the Chinese telecommunications giant stay in business. The deal might require ZTE to revamp its board and to pay a fine of $1 billion or more, Trump said. The talks follow an agreement by both sides to hold off on punitive tariffs they had threatened to impose on up to $200 billion of each other's goods.

THE QUOTE: "Equity markets can be seen continuing to sing to the tune of geopolitics with freshly brewed U.S.-China and U.S.-North Korean concerns," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 38 cents to $71.82 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 53 cents to $79.04.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.68 yen from Tuesday's 110.92 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1704 from $1.1826.

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