February 27, 2019 / 7:45 PM / 9 months ago

CORRECTED-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks little changed after U.S. trade rep comments but energy gains

(Corrects first paragraph to say a jump in oil prices)

* Global stock markets mostly lower after U.S. trade rep comments

* Pakistan says it shot down two Indian jets

* Trump, Kim start two-day summit in Hanoi

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Global stock indexes were little changed on Wednesday after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said it was too early to predict an outcome in U.S.-China trade talks, though a jump in oil prices lifted shares of energy companies.

Lighthizer also told a congressional hearing that U.S. issues with China were “too serious” to be resolved with promises from Beijing.

Hopes for a resolution of the trade conflict had bolstered stock markets in recent sessions. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would delay a self-imposed March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese imports after “productive” trade talks.

“The general consensus is talks are progressing but it may not be full speed ahead,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Equity investors also were on edge as the second U.S.-North Korean nuclear summit kicked off and tensions flared up between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan.

Oil prices rallied for a second day after an unexpected decline in U.S. crude inventories and after Saudi Arabia appeared undaunted by pressure from Trump on OPEC to prevent steeper price rises.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose or 2.1 percent to $66.58 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 2.61 percent to $56.95 per barrel.

The S&P 500 energy index was up 0.9 percent, helping to limit losses in the benchmark S&P 500 index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.38 points, or 0.24 percent, to 25,994.6, the S&P 500 lost 1.86 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,792.04 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.84 points, or 0.01 percent, to 7,550.14.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.07 percent, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.28 percent.

Investors were keeping an eye on the U.S.-North Korean summit in Hanoi. Trump is meeting Kim Jong Un, with the United States pushing North Korea’s leader to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. dollar benefited modestly from the trade remarks, but investors also were absorbing comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who spoke for a second day before U.S. Congress. Powell has emphasized patience on raising U.S. interest rates.

The dollar index, tracking it against six major currencies, rose 0.16 percent, with the euro down 0.17 percent to $1.1366.

U.S. Treasury yields rose in spite of a report that the U.S. goods trade deficit widened sharply in December, suggesting a slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said the goods trade gap jumped 12.8 percent to $79.5 billion in December as slowing global demand and a strong dollar weighed on exports. Exports declined 2.8 percent and imports rose 2.4 percent

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.6843 percent, from 2.636 percent late on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Amanda Cooper, Julien Ponthus and Tom Finn in London, Daniel Leussink and Tomo Uetake in Tokyo; editing by Dan Grebler and Bernadette Baum)

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