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September 26, 2017

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Stocks up globally, down in Japan on trade woes

HONG KONG/TOKYO--Global shares were mixed with European shares getting an early boost Thursday, but stocks in Tokyo slipped after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting U.S. President Barack Obama failed to finalize a trade agreement.

Progress on the trans-Pacific pact would be a plus for giant Japanese exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp. Adding to the mixed view was Wall Street's fall overnight despite a solid earnings report from Apple Inc. that sent that issue higher.

The Nikkei, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, lost 1 percent to close at 14,404.99. South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.1 percent to close at 1,998.34.

Sydney closed slightly higher, adding 0.24 percent or 13.2 points to 5,531.0. Shanghai fell 0.50 percent, or 10.35 points, to 2,057.03.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.2 percent higher at 22,562.80.

But European shares started the day with optimism, with the FTSE 100 gaining 0.5 percent to 6,710.77 and the CAC-40 of France adding 0.8 percent to 4,486.06 in early trading.

Analysts say a rise was expected in U.S. shares later in the day because of healthy earnings for Apple as well as Facebook.

Obama's state visit to the Japan is the first by an American president in nearly 20 years. He also is to visit South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Disappointment set in when he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had little to say about a proposed wide-reaching trans-Pacific trade agreement in a joint news conference, and focused more on reaffirming bilateral security ties.

Hideyuki Suzuki, general manager of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo, said no one expected an immediate deal, but players still had some hope for progress in the meeting between the leaders.

"If there had been great anticipation of a deal, then the drop would have been even bigger," Suzuki said.

Market players are also cautious ahead of a slew of earnings reports expected in coming weeks from Japanese companies.

U.S. shares dipped on Wednesday following a report showing sales of new homes unexpectedly plunged 14.5 percent in March from February, reinforcing a picture of a weakening housing market.

In the U.S., the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,875.39. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,501.65, and the Nasdaq composite fell 34.49 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,126.97.

Adding to the downward pressure was a touch of profit-taking after recent gains as well as some poor earnings releases, including from telecom giant AT&T and biotech firm Amgen.

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