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Wall Street stocks flat as US, China tariffs hit

Wall Street stocks were little changed early Friday following a solid US jobs report and the start of a long-anticipated trade war between the US and China.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 percent to 24,336.89.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 percent to 2,740.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 7,614.44.

The US economy added 213,000 new jobs for the month, well above analyst expectations, according to the monthly Labor Department report.

The unemployment rate rose 0.2 points to four percent as more Americans sought work. Wage growth was muted.

Analysts described the report as favorable to stocks because it indicated US growth remains on track but has not spurred the kind of inflation that would demand a more aggressive response from the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, the US and then China launched tit-for-tat tariffs on imports, the opening shots in what could erupt into a major trade war.

Trade keeps pressure on Britain’s FTSE as miners, big oil fall

Britain’s top share index lost some ground on Wednesday, weighed down by weakness among miners and energy stocks, though investors cheered Sainsbury’s trading update.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed down 0.3 percent at 7,569.31 points, slightly underperforming a roughly flat European market.

A rise in the pound following better-than-expected UK services PMI data also weighed on FTSE constituents that rely on dollar earnings.

Trading more broadly has been choppy before a July 6 deadline when the United States is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Shares in Anglo American were big gainers, up 2.1 percent on a report of a possible bid for the miner’s South African business.

Among fallers, Compass Group was down 1.7 percent after the catering group said its finance chief was leaving, the second senior executive change at Compass this year.

Sri Lankan shares edge down

Sri Lankan shares edged lower on Friday in moderate volume as selling in late trade weighed on the market after the central bank cut its economic growth estimate.

Economic growth in 2018 is likely to be between 4 percent and 4.5 percent, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy told reporters on Friday, adding that the earlier estimate was “ambitious”.

Foreign investor selling and concerns about lower economic growth weighed on sentiment, analysts said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.15 percent weaker at 6,108.71, a day after it posted its sharpest daily gain since Nov. 21. It hit its lowest close since March 30, 2017 on Wednesday, and has declined for an 18th session in 21 through Friday. The index fell 1.4 percent for the week.

Foreign investors sold equities for a 12th consecutive session, extending the foreign outflow to 1.43 billion rupees ($8.99 million).

They net sold equities worth 161 million rupees on Friday, extending the year-to-date foreign outflows to 2.23 billion rupees.

Turnover was 753.5 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of 921 million rupees.

Distilleries Co of Sri Lanka Plc, which jumped over 10 percent on Thursday, ended 5.4 percent weaker, while leading mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata fell 0.7 percent.


Tokyo stocks flat as investor jitters over US-China trade row

Tokyo stocks opened flat on Thursday on investor jitters a day before a US deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.01 percent or 1.77 points to 21,718.81 in early trade while the broader Topix was down 0.16 percent or 2.71 points at 1,690.54. In trade in individual stocks, Sony fell 1.68 percent to 5,439 yen and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal lost 1.19 percent to 2,070.5 yen.

Honda rose 0.75 percent to 3,212 yen and Toyota gained 0.64 percent to 7,144 yen.

Australia shares set to make modest gains, NZ down

Australian shares are poised to open slightly higher on Thursday, amid escalating Sino-US trade tensions, with energy stocks expected to buoy the index on rising oil prices.

Brent oil price rose above $78 a barrel on Wednesday after an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said he was ready to prevent regional crude exports if Iranian oil sales were banned by the United States.

The local share price index futures rose 0.2 percent or 12 points, to 6,149, a 34.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close.

The benchmark fell 0.4 percent on Wednesday. New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.24 percent at 2211 GMT.

India SENSEX moves higher

The S&P BSE Sensex on Friday closed 83 points higher or 0.23 percent at 35,657 while the Nifty50 ended 22.90 points higher at 10,772.65.

Sectorally, the S&P BSE Auto index rose 1.39 percent, followed by the S&P BSE Realty index which gained 1.27 percent, and the S&P BSE Capital Goods index was up 1.1 percent.

On the losing front, the S&P BSE Healthcare index slipped 0.75 percent, followed by the S&P BSE Consumer Durables index which was down 0.23 percent, and the S&P BSE FMCG index dropped 0.16 percent.

The S&P BSE Midcap index rose 0.56 percent while the S&P BSE Smallcap index gained 0.46 percent.

Top Sensex gainers include names like Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, TCS, M&M, and Adani Ports.

Top Sensex losers include names like NTPC, HDFC, Wipro, Vedanta, ICICI Bank, ONGC, and Bharti Airtel.

Hong Kong stocks down

Hong Kong shares edged down in the morning session Friday as punishing US tariffs on Chinese imports took effect, marking the start of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

The Hang Seng Index shed 0.48 percent, or 135.20 points, to 28,046.89.

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