Stock markets cautious with focus on Brexit, earnings

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Asian markets have followed Wall Street higher as investors watched for Brexit developments and corporate earnings. Benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul gained, while Tokyo was flat. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Global markets are mixed with shares in Europe up slightly and Wall Street heading for a flat to lower open on Tuesday

BEIJING — Global stock markets mostly edged up Tuesday as investors watched for Brexit developments and corporate earnings.

A mid-week meeting of the European Central Bank and the release of minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting will also be of interest, as will an updated growth outlook from the International Monetary Fund.

Gains in Europe were limited after the U.S. said it wants to put tariffs on $11.2 billion worth of EU goods to offset what it says are unfair European subsidies for plane maker Airbus.

London's FTSE was flat at 7,455, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.1% to 5,476. Germany's DAX declined about 0.1% to 11,968.

The proposed tariffs suggest a breakdown in talks with the European Union since last year over trade at a time when the economy is already slowing. They also come as the U.S. and China struggle to ease their own trade war that has shaken markets and darkened the world outlook. China's official news agency said last week's talks in Washington "achieved new progress" but did not say when further discussions will happen.

On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined about 0.1%, potentially putting an eight-day winning streak in jeopardy. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat at 26,331.

Brexit remained a key topic in markets, with British Prime Minister Theresa May due to meet European leaders ahead of a Friday deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.

British legislators have yet to approve a separation agreement. Economists worry about the drag on the economy if the departure happens without that.

Meanwhile, the latest quarterly earnings season is due to start, with JPMorgan Chase and other big banks reporting. Analysts are forecasting the first drop in S&P 500 profits in years. They expect corporate profit growth to resume after the weak first quarter.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.2 percent to 3,239.56 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 21,802.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3% to 30,157.49 and Seoul's Kospi was 0.1% higher at 2,213.56.

India's Sensex advanced 0.3% to 38,824.80 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged at 6,221.80. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also gained, while New Zealand declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 9 cents to $64.49 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.32 on Monday to $64.40. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6 cents to $71.04 per barrel in London. It rose 76 cents to $71.10 the previous session.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 111.28 yen from Monday's 111.47 yen. The euro gained to $1.1277 from $1.1264.

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Ott reported from Madrid.

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