Global shares mixed in muted trading amid growth fears

TOKYO — Global stocks were mixed in muted trading Wednesday amid ongoing worries about trade tensions and slowing global economic growth.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 shed 0.5 percent to 5,293, while Germany's DAX fell the same rate 11,933. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat after some upbeat economic growth figures for August. U.S. shares were set for a quiet open, with Dow and S&P 500 futures both flat.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to finish at 23,506.04, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1 percent to 6,049.80. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.1 percent to 2,228.61. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 26,225.19, while the Shanghai Composite gained nearly 0.2 percent to 2,725.84.

ECONOMIC DATA: Japan's machinery orders rose strongly in August, boosting optimism about the economy holding up. In Britain, monthly GDP figures for August showed the economy is growing at a three-month rolling rate of 0.7 percent, a strong pace considering the country faces the uncertainty of Brexit.

GLOBAL WORRIES: The broader outlook on the world economy is less rosy. The International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for global growth in its latest report, released this week, citing higher interest rates and ongoing trade battles. The IMF said the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017, but down from its earlier forecast of 3.9 percent. The IMF also cut its forecast for Chinese economic growth in 2019 to 6.2 percent, which would be its slowest since 1990.

THE QUOTE: "This has weighed on risk sentiment amid worsened relations between China and the U.S. over hardware hack allegations," said Zhu Huani at Mizuho Bank in Singapore, referring to the IMF report. "Increasing degree of distrust between the two could further complicate already frosty trade talks."

ENERGY: U.S. crude was flat at $74.96 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 2 cents to $85.02 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.20 Japanese yen from 113.21 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1504 from $1.1437.

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