A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Asian markets fell on Tuesday as mounting tensions over U.S. tariffs overshadowed data suggesting global growth was still on track. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

World markets mixed as traders await comment by Fed chair

July 17, 2018 - 2:49 am

SINGAPORE (AP) — World markets were mixed Tuesday in narrow trading as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 12,572.62 and the CAC 40 in France was barely changed at 5,411.39. The FTSE 100 index remained almost flat at 7,599.96. U.S. stocks were poised for a flat opening ahead of the release of industrial production figures. Dow futures were less than 0.1 percent higher at 25,045.00. The broader S&P 500 future contract was less than 0.1 percent lower at 2,795.70.

ASIA'S DAY: Most Asian indexes closed lower as tensions over U.S. trade actions rattled investors. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend, gaining 0.4 percent to 22,697.36 after reopening from a public holiday. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,297.92 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.3 percent to 28,181.68. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.6 percent to 2,798.13. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gave up 0.6 percent to 6,203.60. Shares fell in Taiwan while Southeast Asian indexes were mixed.

FED COMMENT: Investors are watching for guidance on monetary policy and the economic outlook from the Federal Reserve chair's semi-annual monetary report to Congress. The Fed said Friday it expects low unemployment and rising inflation will keep it on track to raise interest rates at a gradual pace over the next two years.

EU-JAPAN DEAL: The European Union and Japan were to sign a widespread trade deal Tuesday that will eliminate nearly all tariffs, seemingly defying the worries about trade tensions set off by President Donald Trump's policies. The deal covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people. Prices of European wine and pork will fall for Japanese consumers. Japanese machinery parts, tea and fish will get cheaper for Europe. The major step toward liberalizing trade has been discussed since 2013 and was largely finalized last year.

NETFLIX: Video streaming service Netflix's report that it is adding subscribers at a slower pace than envisioned, renewed fears that its growth may sputter as competition heats up. Monday's numbers marked the first time in a more than a year that Netflix hadn't exceeded its subscriber growth projection and its shares plunged 13.2 percent in aftermarket trading.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "The thud was heard up and down Wall Street as Netflix fell off a cliff in late trading after posting dispiriting subscriber growth last quarter," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. He added, "This negative Netflix result could spur more moves into to cash as investors may finally adopt a delayed sell in May and go away strategy."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 8 cents to $67.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4.2 percent to $68.06 in New York on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 2 cents to $71.86 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.36 yen from 112.30 yen late Monday. The euro ticked up to $1.1736 from $1.1713.

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