Global Stocks Lower Amid Uncertainties

Global Stocks Lower Amid Uncertainties

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global stock benchmarks were mostly lower on Wednesday as investors watched for the latest developments in the standoff between U.S. President Donald Trump and his former FBI director.

KEEPING SCORE: European markets drifted lower though Britain's FTSE 100 was steady at 7,525.55. France' CAC 40 dropped 0.4 percent to 5,385.63 and Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 12,774.65. Futures augured a weak day on Wall Street. Dow and S&P 500 futures both lost 0.5 percent.

U.S. POLITICS: Analysts said investors were concerned over the outlook for the Trump administration following revelations that FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that the president had asked him to shut down an FBI investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. That allegation was preceded by news that the president had disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the country's ambassador to the United States. Trump tweeted Tuesday that he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "As reporting intensifies on Trump's potential mishandling of classified information, and renewed speculations on the rationale of his dismissal of Comey, markets are becoming concerned whether key legislation on tax reforms could be deferred or derailed," Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary.

ASIA'S DAY: Asian markets mostly fell. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5 percent to 19,814.88 as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,293.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.2 percent to 25,293.63. The Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.2 percent lower to 3,104.44. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.1 percent to 5,786.00. Taiwan's benchmark index fell but markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 18 cents to $48.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 19 cents to close at $48.66 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 7 cents to $51.58 per barrel in London. It lost 17 cents to settle at $51.65 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: In currency trading, the dollar fell to 112.44 yen from 113.11 yen. The euro gained to $1.1092 from $1.1085.

(KA)