Wall Street futures turned negative and Brent crude faded from a four-month high, knocking a rally for European energy stocks, after talk of a delay to a top-level summit between the US and China hit sentiment.
Reports that a meeting between the presidents of China and the US would be pushed back into April from March — first carried by Bloomberg — weighed on a range of assets. US futures trade pointed to an opening slip of 0.3 per cent for the S&P 500, having expected a modest rise beforehand. The dollar index also turned around, to rise 0.2 per cent to 96.714.
Brent crude returned to the flatline having earlier traded at its highest since mid November. The international oil price had been tracking expectations for tighter supply due to supply curbs from Opec and US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.
The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 came off its highs for the day, but stayed positive overall, up 0.3 per cent. The index tracking the region’s oil and gas sector followed the same pattern to stand up 0.7 per cent overall.
Concern that a delay to a summit could reflect a lack of a breakthrough on trade talks chimed with more bleak data showing the impact of the existing tariffs. Figures showing industrial output growth in the country falling to a 17-year low preceded a 0.7 per cent fall for mainland China’s CSI 300.
Australia’s dollar also fell, tracking the country’s status as a major exporter to China. The currency was 0.6 per cent weaker at $0.7049, taking it back towards its lowest levels of the month.
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