World Shares Slip on Trump Policies

HONG KONG (AP) -- World stock markets retreated Thursday as investors shied away from riskier assets over renewed concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's policies. Japan's benchmark slumped more than 1 percent on the strength of the yen, traditionally seen as a haven.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares were mostly lower in early trading. Germany's DAX lost 0.1 percent to 11,645.40 and France's CAC 40 was flat at 4,794.26. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 7,116.72. U.S. stocks were poised to open lower, with Dow futures shedding 0.2 percent to 19,769.00 and broader S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent to 2,268.60.

TRUMP TURBULENCE: Surveys showed improving U.S. factory activity and employment for last month, which add further evidence that the world's biggest economy continues to improve. But investors were rattled by the latest news from the Trump administration, including a phone call in which he warned Mexico's president he might send in troops and another about a tense exchange with Australia's leader over refugees. Analysts said investors are increasingly wary of risky investments in light of Trump's dramatic policy announcements since taking office.

MARKET VIEW: "Donald Trump's presidency comes with greater than normal risks," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, said in a report. Eventually, "pragmatic pro-growth policies are likely to ultimately dominate populist policies. However, the Trump honeymoon with investors is likely over with a short term period of correction/volatility likely to continue in shares, bond yields and the U.S. dollar."

CENTRAL BANKING: The Federal Reserve left a key interest rate on hold after its latest policy meeting, as investors had expected. Policymakers signaled that they still expect to gradually raise rates but gave no clear timeline. Markets are keeping an eye on the outcome of the Bank of England's policy meeting expected later in the day. No change is expected but investors will be looking for any insight on how Britain's vote to leave the European Union is affecting the economy.

EARNINGS SEASON: Investors are assessing the latest corporate earnings reports. Sony Corp. reported that fourth-quarter profit slumped 84 percent from the year before as movie losses outweighed healthy video game sales. Earlier, Facebook said fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled to nearly $3.6 billion, blowing past Wall Street forecasts.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 1.2 percent to 18,914.58 as the stronger yen weighed on exporters, while South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.5 percent to 2,071.01. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6 percent to 23,184.52 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 5,645.40. Markets in mainland China were closed for the final day of a weeklong holiday. Southeast Asian indexes were mixed.

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 112.55 yen from 112.98 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro crept up to $1.0812 from $1.0778.

PRECIOUS METALS: The price of gold, which is also seen as a safe investment in times of financial turmoil, climbed $11.10, or 0.9 percent, to $1,219.10 an ounce.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil slipped 3 cents to $53.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.07, or 2 percent, to close at $53.88 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, gained 16 cents to $56.96 a barrel in London.

(KA)