World markets mixed as US health care bill vote looms

AP News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2017 8:27 AM
World markets mixed as US health care bill vote looms

HONG KONG (AP) — World stock markets were mixed Friday after a U.S. vote on a health care bill was delayed, raising doubts over whether President Donald Trump can push through his business friendly agenda.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares were lower, with France's CAC 40 down 0.5 percent to 5,007 and Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent to 7,326. Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent to 12,020. U.S. benchmarks were poised to open slightly higher, with Dow futures adding 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.

HEALTH BILL HOLDUP: The decision by House Republicans to put off the vote was weighing on markets. Party leaders postponed the vote on the American Health Care Act because of a lack of support, leading investors to wonder whether gaining passage of more complicated and divisive initiatives like Trump's tax cuts will be even harder. The vote will happen later Friday.

ANALYST VIEW: "Markets are likely to remain on hold today as traders wait on the U.S. Congress to resolve its impasse on revision of the 'Obamacare' legislation," Ric Spooner of CMC Markets, said in a commentary. "Optimism may be tempered by the fact that the Senate remains a significant obstacle to Trump's health-care legislation even it is passed by Congress."

DAIRY PLUNGE: Shares of Chinese milk producer Huishan Dairy Holdings plunged 85 percent in just minutes on the Hong Kong exchange, erasing billions of dollars in market value, before the company requested a trading halt. The reason for the sell-off was unclear. In December the company was the subject of a report by U.S.-based short-seller Muddy Waters accusing it of reporting fraudulent profits, but the company said then that those accusations were false.

ASIAN SCORECARD: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to close at 19,262.53 as buying picked up following recent losses. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.2 percent to 2,168.95 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng reversed earlier losses to finish 0.1 percent higher at 24,358.27. The Shanghai Composite index in mainland China rose 0.6 percent to 3,269.45. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.8 percent to 5,753.50. Taiwan's index fell and Southeast Asian benchmarks were uneven.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil futures rose 31 cents to $48.01 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 34 cents the day before. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 28 cents to $50.84 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.05 yen from 110.93 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0802 from $1.0783.