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World shares steady after U.S. benchmarks hit record highs

A currency trader walks by the screen showing

A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday. Credit: AP / Lee Jin-man

TOKYO — World shares were trading in a narrow range on Thursday after major U.S. indexes hit fresh record highs in a pre-Independence Day rally, buoyed by the easing of trade tensions between the United States and China.

The detente reached by President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping and their agreement to refrain from new tariffs pending a new round of negotiations has relieved some pressure on markets. But the trade war is still overshadowing the global economic outlook.

In Europe, Germany's DAX edged 0.1 percent higher to 12,626.32, while the CAC 40 in France lost 2.3 points to 5,616.50. Britain's FTSE 100 also was little changed, losing 2.91 points to 7,606.41.

U.S. futures edged lower, with the contract for the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent to 2,998.00. The future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost 0.1 percent, to 26,947.00.

With Wall Street trading closed for the July 4 holiday, investors will be looking ahead to the U.S. government's closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday. The results of that report will likely be a factor in the Federal Reserve's meeting later this month. The central bank has already said it is prepared to cut rates to shore up the U.S. economy if trade disputes crimp growth.

But trade remains a key factor, as markets wait to see next steps after Trump and Xi's encounter at the Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters in Washington that he expected to announce a new round of negotiations soon. "They're on the phone," he said. "There's lots of communication."

"We're not done yet, but we're hopeful," he said.

In Asia on Thursday, Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.3 percent to 21,702.45 and South Korea's Kospi rebounded, gaining 0.5 percent to 2,108.73. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.6 percent to 6,718.00. The Shanghai Composite index gave up earlier gains, slipping 0.3 percent to 3,005.25. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng shed 0.2 percent lower to 28,795.77. India's Sensex added 0.2 percent to 39,901.45.

Shares rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia in Malaysia.

In holiday-shortened trading on Wall Street on Wednesday, the S&P 500 index gained 0.8% to close at 2,995.82, the third record high close in as many days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also reached a record, gaining 0.7 percent to close at 26,966. A rally in technology shares pushed the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite 0.8 percent higher to 8,170.23.

Technology companies, which tend to do a lot of business with China, have been particularly sensitive to the trade war between the United States and China. The sector has been broadly higher this week.

Every sector in the S&P 500 made gains on Wednesday, and the records are adding up to a yearlong rally. The S&P 500 is up more than 19% so far, while the Dow is up more than 15 percent. The Nasdaq is now up 23 percent for the year.

In commodities trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 45 cents to $56.89 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.09 on Wednesday to settle at $57.34 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 46 cents to $63.36 per barrel. It rose $1.42 overnight to close at $63.82 a barrel.

The dollar slipped to 107.80 Japanese yen from 107.83 yen on Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1286 from $1.1279.

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