SEOUL, South Korea — Global stock markets were mixed on Friday with European markets off to a positive start after some Asian markets closed lower on disappointing trade data from China.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent to 7,312 while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent to 4,902. Germany’s DAX advanced 0.5 percent to 11,579. Futures showed U.S. markets headed for a lackluster start. Dow and S&P futures both added 0.1 percent.
CHINA TRADE: Customs data showed that Chinese exports sank 6.1 percent in December from a year earlier. In November, China’s exports eked out a 0.1 percent expansion after shrinking for nine straight months. Imports rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier.
ANALYST TAKE: “The slowdown is disappointing given signs from recent business surveys… that global demand continued to strengthen in December,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a research note. “The upshot is that while China’s trade performance has improved somewhat over the past year, the lack of a more substantial recovery (particularly in exports) is concerning,” he said.
AUTO STOCKS: Shares in Fiat Chrysler were up 3.6 percent in Milan, after dropping about 10 percent drop the previous day, when U.S. authorities accused the company of using software that makes some of its vehicles’ emit more pollution than is allowed. Separately, Renault saw its stock fall 2.7 percent after prosecutors in Paris said they have also opened a probe of the French manufacturer. Investors are wary of the impact on automakers of emissions probes, with Volkswagen racking up $20 billion in costs in the U.S. over its scandal there.
SAMSUNG: South Korea’s Samsung Electronics fell 3.5 percent, its first drop in about a week, pulling the benchmark Kospi lower. The share price of the world’s largest maker of memory chips and smartphones had hit new highs in recent weeks, driven by expectations of strong earnings from its semiconductor business. Prosecutors investigating the influence-peddling scandal that prompted the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye have named Lee Jae-yong, Samsung vice chairman, a bribery suspect in the political scandal.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.8 percent to 19,287.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.5 percent to 22,937.38. But China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent to 3,112.76 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 2,076.79. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slumped 0.8 percent to 5,721.10. Shares gained in Singapore and Indonesia but fell in Taiwan and the Philippines.
OIL: Benchmark crude oil fell 63 cents to $52.38 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 76 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, lost 64 cents to $55.37 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar turned lower, trading at 114.64 yen from 114.86 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.0648 from $1.0611.