World stock markets higher as geopolitical tension eases

A man walks past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a local bank in Hong Kong, Thursday, March 29, 2018. Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday as tech-sector losses on Wall Street weighed on sentiment and trading in some markets was muted ahead of the Easter long weekend. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

World stock markets higher as Asian geopolitical fears ease, helping investors get over US tech sell-off

HONG KONG — World stock markets rose Thursday as geopolitical fears in Asia eased, helping investors get over a sell-off earlier in the week in U.S. tech shares. Trading in some markets was muted ahead of the Easter long weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: European indexes rose in early trading. Germany's DAX added 0.4 percent to 11,983.50 and France's CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent to 5,143.21. Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.2 percent to 7,060.43. Wall Street was poised to open higher. Dow futures edged up 0.1 percent to 23,874.00 and broader S&P 500 futures crept 0.1 percent higher to 2,609.80.

ASIAN SCORECARD: The Shanghai Composite in mainland China led Asian gains, jumping 1.2 percent to close at 3,160.53. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent to 21,159.08 after a sharp drop in the yen made shares cheaper for foreign buyers. South Korea's Kospi added 0.7 percent to 2,436.37 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent to 30,093.38. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent to 5,759.40. Shares rose in Singapore and Indonesia but fell in Taiwan and Thailand.

TRADE TENSIONS: Beijing again sought to head off a trade war with the U.S., urging Washington to abandon plans to impose tariffs that it warned could trigger a chain reaction disrupting global trade. Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng vowed that China will "fight to the end" to defend its interests, in response to President Donald Trump's plans to hike tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy. Gao repeated earlier statements that China is open to talks, but wouldn't confirm reports they've already started.

MARKET TAKE: "Our view remains that China and the U.S. will reach a negotiated solution both in terms of trade and investment restrictions such that the tariffs and restrictions will ultimately be very modest, if at all," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital. "But this could take a month or more to resolve and so market nervousness around this issue will linger for a while.

KOREAS SUMMIT: Officials said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet on April 27, a sign of progress to calm investor worries about the standoff over the North's nuclear program. The announcement follows a meeting earlier this week between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. A summit between Kim and President Donald Trump is also anticipated by the end of May though nothing has been confirmed.

ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 18 cents to $64.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 87 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $64.38 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 5 cents to $68.71 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased after making a big jump against the yen to its highest level in three weeks. It was trading at 106.61 yen from 106.84 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.2315 from $1.2308.

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