European Markets on Downward Path  

European markets are all down in midday trading Thursday as bad economic news from Japan, and China’s worsening trade and diplomatic relations with Australia and the United States, are having a ripple effect with investors across the globe.   The FTSE index in London is 0.9% lower, the CAC-50 in Paris has lost 1% and the DAX index in Frankfurt has plunged 1.3% lower.   A masked woman walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, May 21, 2020.Thursday’s trading doldrums began in Asia, with Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index losing 0.2% at its closing bell after the government announced that Japan’s exports fell 21.9% last month, the biggest drop since the 2008 global financial crisis.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.4%, while Shanghai closed 0.5% lower and the S&P/ASX 500 in Sydney was down 0.4%.   Seoul and Taipei provided the regions few bright spots, earning 0.4% and 0.9% respectively.   Monday’s major rally on global markets after news of a potential coronavirus vaccine have faded after Beijing imposed massive tariffs on Australian barley imports, plus the Trump administration’s increasingly heated rhetoric against China over its initial response to the coronavirus pandemic, which was first detected late last year in Wuhan.    The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all 0.5 lower in futures trading, indicating a lower opening on Wall Street Thursday as investors brace for another grim unemployment report from the Labor Department.   Oil markets are in positive territory Thursday, with U.S. crude trading at $34.13 per barrel, up 1.9%, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, is trading at $36.37 per barrel, up 1.7%.        

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