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Global stocks mixed amid latest US-China trade signals

Investors are keeping a close eye on the progress of China-US trade talks

Global stocks were mixed on Friday, with US indices pushing to fresh records as investors remained fairly upbeat on the prospects of a US-China trade deal despite some confusing signs on where things stand.

US President Donald Trump said he had not agreed to roll back any import tariffs as part of a partial trade deal the two sides are negotiating, contradicting Chinese government statements the prior day that had linked a rollback of some existing tariffs to the finalization of the partial "phase one" trade deal announced last month.

The remarks weighed on US stocks much of the day but markets pushed into positive territory at the end of the day, lifting all three major US indices to fresh records.

It was the S&P 500's third record this week amid optimism that the US-China situation is progressing towards a deal.

Investors "presumably continued to think that a 'Phase One' deal will still get signed," said Briefing.com, adding that "there still wasn't much conviction from buyers or sellers for most of the session."

Earlier, European stocks fell about half a percent. Schwab cited divergent headlines that "seemed to foster some uncertainty regarding when/if a deal between the two largest economies will be completed."

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong closed lower following a six-day advance, while dealers in the city were bracing for a fresh weekend of protests after the death of a student who sustained head injuries when he fell during clashes with police.

Shanghai also weakened after data showed Chinese exports and imports fell again last month, though not by as much as expected.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "If a first phase trade deal is done, there is agreement to roll back some existing tariffs, but only if the deal is agreed. Usual story -- mixed reports really all just noise."

The two sides have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade, weighing on economic growth.

"It is clear that there are big reasons for Trump and Xi to want some form of deal, that they cannot appear to be conceding too much, that China wants as many of the tariffs removed as possible and that Trump's trade hawks would prefer to keep as many tariffs as they can," Karl Haeling of LBBW said in a market commentary.

- Key figures around 2140 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 27,681.24 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 3,093.08 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 8,475.31 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,359.38 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 13,228.56 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 5,889.70 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,699.65 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 23,391.87 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 percent at 27,651.14 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 2,964.18 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1021 from $1.1050 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.21 yen from 109.28 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2784 from $1.2817

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.18 pence from 86.22

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.4 percent at $62.51 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.2 percent at $57.24 per barrel

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