Stocks mixed amid trade fears; oil prices rise

China seeking the WTO's permission to impose sanctions in an old trade dispute drove market sentiment lower

Global stocks were mixed Tuesday on worries over lingering trade conflict between the United States and China, while oil prices advanced ahead of a major hurricane that threatens US infrastructure.

Investors were monitoring US trade relations on various fronts, with Canada's top diplomat Chrystia Freeland back in Washington Tuesday for more talks, and after another round of negotiations between US and European officials concluded Monday without a deal.

China plans to ask the World Trade Organization next week for permission to impose sanctions on the United States over anti-dumping practices taken against some Chinese products. The conflict marks another front in the burgeoning dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

"The strained trading relations between the US and China have taken a new turn," CMC analyst David Madden said of the move which he said "could trigger a reaction from President Trump and investors are exiting equities as a result."

Key European markets London and Frankfurt both ended lower while Paris managed to edge into positive territory.

Wall Street stocks opened the session in the red, but sentiment shifted later in the day following strong data on small business confidence, said Karl Haeling of LBBW.

"Stocks kind of wanted to go up anyway" amid largely positive data that has shown the relative strength of the United States compared with other economies, Haeling said.

Large technology shares, under pressure in recent sessions, pushed higher, with Apple jumping 2.5 percent ahead of the expected launch on Wednesday of new iPhones.

Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook all won at least one percent.

Petroleum-linked companies were another strong sector, with Dow member Exxon Mobil rising 1.4 percent and Apache and Halliburton both winning 1.8 percent following a rise in oil prices.

The impending storm boosted gasoline prices due to panic buying of the fuel, as well as worries about oilfield infrastructure due to Hurricane Florence. Oil prices were also boosted by an expected hit to Iranian oil exports due to sanctions, analysts said.

Earlier Tuesday, Asian investors also trod uneasily as concerns over trade and emerging markets dragged on confidence.

Hong Kong fell 0.7 percent and is now more than 20 percent from its record touched in January, putting it in a bear market.

Shanghai hit lows not seen since January 2016.

However, Tokyo rose 1.3 percent as exporters were supported by a weaker yen.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 25,971.06 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 2,887.89 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.6 percent at 7,972.47 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,273.54 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 11,970.27 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,283.79 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,311.66 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent at 22,664.69 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 percent at 26,422.55 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,664.80 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1600 from $1.1594 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3026 from $1.3027

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.57 yen from 111.13 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP $1.69 at $79.06 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.71 at $69.25 per barrel