World markets turn lower as eyes turn to US midterm election

A currency trader watches the computer monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Share prices are mixed in Asia as markets await the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)The Associated Press
A currency trader watches the computer monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Share prices are mixed in Asia as markets await the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Global stock markets turned lower Tuesday, with Wall Street expected to dip on the open, as cautious investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.7 percent to 7,054 while Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent to 11,470. The CAC 40 in France was down 0.3 percent at 5,088. Wall Street was likewise headed for a lackluster start, with the futures contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both down 0.2 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.1 percent to 22,147.75 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.6 percent to 2,089.62. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,659.36 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng bounced back, gaining 0.7 percent to 26,120.96. Australia's S&P ASX 200 advanced 1.0 percent to 5,875.20. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Jakarta and Thailand. Markets were closed in Singapore and Malaysia for a public holiday.

ELECTION WATCH: Financial markets have been on a roller-coaster ride and the election Tuesday could roil things further. U.S. midterms, votes on lawmakers and other officials that fall between presidential elections, are often marked by low voter turnout. But political watchers are expecting voter angst over which party will control the U.S. House and Senate to drive more Americans to cast votes. Investors will be watching to see how the vote might influence U.S. trade, economic and security policies.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "U.S. midterms may not spring any shocks in terms of who wins control of what but investors are understandably taking a cautious approach ahead of the results, given how markets have been over the last month," Craig Erlam of OANDA said in a commentary.

CHINA-U.S. TRADE: Keeping hopes alight for resolving a punishing trade war between the two biggest economies, a Chinese vice president, Wang Qishan, said at a conference in Singapore that Beijing is ready to discuss issues with the Trump administration. That followed positive assessments by both Chinese officials and President Donald Trump of a phone conversation last week between Trump and China's President Xi Jinping.

ENERGY: The price of oil continued to drop after the U.S. gave exemptions to several countries in its sanctions on Iranian oil. That eased concerns about disruption in an already tight global energy markets. Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 41 cents to $62.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 4 cents to $63.10 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 67 cents to $72.50 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged down to 113.18 yen from 113.20 yen. The euro climbed to $1.1414 from $1.1408.

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