Stocks fall back as investors await news from US-China talks

People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Most Asian share benchmarks are lower as a rally spurred by the Trump administration's decision to hold off on increasing tariffs on imported Chinese goods fades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A man and a woman walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Most Asian share benchmarks are lower as a rally spurred by the Trump administration's decision to hold off on increasing tariffs on imported Chinese goods fades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Most Asian share benchmarks are lower as a rally spurred by the Trump administration's decision to hold off on increasing tariffs on imported Chinese goods fades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BANGKOK — World shares fell and Wall Street was set to open lower Tuesday as investors awaited news from the talks between the U.S. and China on their ongoing trade war.

Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.8 percent to 7,102 in midday trading as the pound rose on hopes for a delay to Brexit or even a second popular vote. The stronger pound hurts earnings for many of the multinationals listed on the FTSE.

Meanwhile, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.3 percent to 5,215 and Germany's DAX also dropped 0.3 percent to 11,467.

U.S. markets also pointed to a lower open. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3 percent at 26,009 and the same measure for the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 2,790.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite retreated from its early advance, losing 0.7 percent on Tuesday to 2,941.52 as traders cashed in recent gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.4 percent to 21,449.39 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.7 percent to 28,772.06.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.9 percent to 6,128.40 as falling prices for oil and other commodities hit energy companies.

Tuesday's declines reflected waning confidence in negotiations between the U.S. and China over Washington's complaints that Beijing steals technology or pressures companies to hand it over.

The Trump administration's decision to hold off on a March 2 increase in punitive duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese spurred buying Monday.

But many questions remain about the prospects for a deal that would unwind the tariffs already slapped by both sides on billions of dollars of each other's goods. Although both sides have reported progress in the negotiations, few details emerged.

Trump's conflicting comments on the status of the talks have added to the uncertainty, said Jingyi Pan of IG.

"As it is, we continue to view the trade matter through an opaque screen and make assumptions from the shadows of President Donald Trump," Pan said in a commentary.

ELSEWHERE IN ASIA: South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent and India's Sensex fell 0.2 percent amid mounting tensions with neighboring Pakistan. Shares were lower in Southeast Asia.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil gained 2 cents to $55.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 3.1 percent to settle at $55.48 a barrel in New York after Trump criticized rising oil prices in an early morning tweet. Brent crude rebounded, gaining 45 cents to $65.21 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The pound surged to $1.3222 from $1.3097 after the U.K. Labour Party said it would back a second vote on Brexit. The dollar fell to 110.86 yen from 111.04 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1363 from $1.1356.

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