World Stocks Mixed on Health Vote Delay03/24 05:43

World Stocks Mixed on Health Vote Delay03/24 05:43

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.

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 mostly lower in early trading. France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 5,019.56 and Britain's FTSE 100 slipped less than 0.1 percent to 7,338.09. Germany's DAX was nearly flat at 12,040.78. U.S. benchmarks were poised to open higher, with Dow futures adding 0.2 percent to 20,644.00 and broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent to 2,345.20.

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 after Asian markets have closed.

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, adding, "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 22 cents to $47.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 34 cents to settle at $47.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 14 cents to $50.80 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.20 yen from 110.93 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0799 from $1.0783.

(KA)

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