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World Stocks Wobble As US-China Trade War Gets Real

Global stock markets wobbled Friday as China and the United States fired the first shots in a trade war that pits the world’s two biggest economies against each other.
The euro rose against the dollar, while oil prices fell.
US President Donald Trump on Friday rolled out tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods in what Beijing called the “largest trade war” in economic history.
China added it had already imposed retaliatory measures on US goods without immediately providing precise details.
“By imposing tariffs on $34bn worth of US imports from China today and eliciting an immediate like-for-like response from China, US President Donald Trump is bringing the world close to a genuine trade war,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg.
European stocks drifted lower in the afternoon, having opened mixed, while Wall Street, too, came off to a weaker start, shrugging off a solid US jobs report.
Earlier, Asian markets saw some gains as investors went bargain-hunting, dealers reported.
Tokyo stocks led the gains in Asia, closing 1.1 percent higher, with markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong up by around half a percentage point.
Li Daxiao, analyst at Yingda Securities, said news of the tariffs had already been priced in.
“After the US tariffs announcement, the negative news finally came out and has already been digested over recent weeks. Therefore investors are not in as much of a panic as before, and the market sentiment will reverse,” said Li.
Stanley Chik, from Bright Smart Securities International in Hong Kong, said that “the impact of tariffs on economic growth appears limited for now, giving the market a breathing spell.”
But these could be just the first skirmishes in a long war, with financial markets worried about a knock-on effect on the wider global economy and the broader trading system.
Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on some $450 billion of Chinese goods — virtually all of China’s exports to the US — as he seeks to advance his “America First” protectionist agenda.
Beijing has accused the US of “firing on the whole world” with the measures, pointing out that most of the Chinese goods under attack are made by companies with large foreign investment — including American.
– Key figures around 1340 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,574.38 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 12,432.12
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 5,349.90
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,432.32
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 24,297.51
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 28,315.62 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 21,788.14 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,747.23 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1756 from $1.1691 at 2100 GMT Thursday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3267 from $1.3222
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.48 yen from 110.64 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 79 cents at $76.60 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 67 cents at $72.45

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