Global stocks mixed, with trade and US politics in focus

A currency trader passes by screens showing Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and foreign exchange rate at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 16, 2018. Asian stocks were lower on Friday as caution prevailed while investors waited for more details on the U.S. plans to slap tariffs on Chinese imports and the latest developments on authorities’ investigation into Russia’s election interference. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 16, 2018. Asian stocks were lower on Friday as caution prevailed while investors waited for more details on the U.S. plans to slap tariffs on Chinese imports and the latest developments on authorities’ investigation into Russia’s election interference. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 16, 2018. Asian stocks were lower on Friday as caution prevailed while investors waited for more details on the U.S. plans to slap tariffs on Chinese imports and the latest developments on authorities’ investigation into Russia’s election interference. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea — Global stock markets were mixed Friday amid caution about U.S. plans to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and uncertainty over White House politics.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 7,152 and France's CAC 40 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,277. Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent to 12,401. Futures augured a lukewarm start on Wall Street. S&P futures added 0.1 percent while Dow futures held steady.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Caution lingers amid risk factors from heightened trade tensions between U.S. and China, U.S. politics and geopolitical tensions in Europe," Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary.

U.S. POLITICS: The Trump Organization said the company has fully cooperated with Robert Mueller's investigation in response to the report that it received a subpoena from Mueller that included a request for documents related to Russia.

U.S. TRADE: Trade remained in the spotlight after President Trump said CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow is replacing Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser after Cohn disagreed with Trump's decision to hike tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trade issues will likely top the agenda at a financial meeting of the Group of 20 industrial nations in Buenos Aires on Monday to Tuesday.

ASIA'S DAY: Asian markets finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent to 21,676.51, while South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent higher to 2,493.97. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dipped 0.1 percent to 31,501.97. China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 percent to 3,269.88. But Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 5,949.40. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $61.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 23 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 6 cents to $65.18 per barrel in London, having risen 23 cents on Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 105.67 Japanese yen from 106.33 yen. The euro rose to $1.2322 from $1.2305.

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