Global shares were mostly lower in muted trading Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.
France’s CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent in midday trading at 5,228, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent to 11,475. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.5 percent to 7,098 as the pound continued to rise, hurting the index’s many multinationals. The pound is up after Prime Minister Theresa May said she would allow Parliament the chance to delay the country’s scheduled March 29 departure if lawmakers don’t approve her divorce agreement with the bloc. That eases the risk of a damaging exit without a deal.
U.S. shares were headed for a lower open, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping 0.3 percent to 25,972. S&P 500 futures also fell 0.3 percent to 2,785.
Kim and Trump were due to have a private dinner Wednesday evening, following up on their Singapore summit in June, which was long on pageantry but short on any enforceable agreements for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Progress toward further dismantling of the North’s nuclear program could help reduce tensions left over from the 1950-53 Korean War, dousing a longtime flashpoint in the region.
But the event was absorbing less attention than the first meeting, said Jasper Lawler of London Capital Group.
“Traders will keep an eye on developments, but the intensity of the focus will be nothing like the first meeting which came following months of hot-headed comments from both sides,” Lawler said in a research note.
Shares were mixed in Asia, where Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to finish at 21,556.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 6,150.30 and South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.4 percent to 2,234.79.
India’s Sensex dropped 0.3 percent to 35,870.91 as tensions with neighboring Pakistan surged following a pre-dawn airstrike by India that New Delhi said targeted a terrorist training camp.
Pakistan said its air force shot down two Indian warplanes after they crossed the boundary in the disputed region of Kashmir and captured two Indian pilots, as Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority closed the country’s air space to all commercial flights.
ELSEWHERE IN ASIA: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng erased earlier gains to slip nearly 0.2 percent to 28,727.36, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.4 percent to 2,953.82. Shares fell in Singapore and Taiwan but rose in Thailand.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude added $1.02 cents to $56.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was essentially flat at $55.50 a barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 86 cents to $66.07 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 110.47 yen from 110.58 yen. The euro rose to $1.1397 from $1.1388 on Tuesday.