Global shares mixed amid trade friction pressures

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Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as worries about slowing growth in China and higher interest rates offset easing concerns about the geopolitical risks over Syria.

GEOPOLITICS: Investors appear to have begun putting aside concerns over Friday night's missile attack by the U.S., Britain and France on Syria's chemical weapons program. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his use of the phrase "Mission Accomplished" to describe the USA -led missile attack, while his aides stressed continuing US troop involvement and plans for new economic sanctions against Russian Federation for enabling the government of Bashar Assad.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dumped 252.84 points, or 0.8%, to 30,062.75, with technology and consumer goods stocks among the worst-performing sectors before the market close.

The Dow gained 0.87 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent on Monday, with the biggest boosts from technology and healthcare sectors as investors were optimistic about the earnings season and appeared less anxious about USA -led missile attacks in Syria. Drugmakers, retailers and food companies were among the prominent gainers. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe.MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gained 0.39 percent, though emerging market stocks dipped 0.58 percent.

Australian shares rose as investors took Syria tensions in stride. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 12.20 points or 0.2% to finish at 5,841.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 8.30 points or 0.1% at 5,933. South32 climbed 3.2% after a surge in aluminum prices on concerns about supply disruption.

The big four banks also closed mixed, while energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy gained 1-2 percent after crude oil prices posted their largest weekly gain in nearly a year.

That was partly as attention turned to what is expected to be a robust first-quarter US corporate earnings season, which begins in earnest this week.

Down Under, markets were flat, with financials stocks slipping 0.3% and weighing on the broader index. Market heavyweights Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor rose 1.1% and 1.7%, respectively.

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The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 lost 0.46 percent.

In economic releases, activity in New Zealand's services sector continued to expand in March, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed with a Performance of Services Index score of 58.8, up from the upwardly revised 55.3 in February.

Shanghai's index shed 0.35 percent and Japan's Nikkei was unchanged. The country's jobless rate edged down to 3.3% in February from 3.4% in January, figures from the Department of Statistics showed.

"Equity markets in Europe are slightly higher with traders cautiously optimistic", said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

Expectations of further interest rate increases lifted the short end of the curve earlier in the day, led by the two-year government bond US2YT=RR, which hit 2.394, its highest since September 2008.

The greenback fell 0.41 percent against a basket of major currencies.DXY, while the euro EUR= rose 0.4 percent to $1.2378.

However, dealers are keeping a close watch on events, while the trade row with China remains in focus after the Wall Street Journal reported the United States is considering measures over Beijing's restrictions on tech devices.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report an 18.6 percent jump in first-quarter profit, on average, the biggest rise in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.