Trade war fears and tech jitters stalk global stock markets

A currency trader passes a screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks have fallen for a second day amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A man looks at an electronic board displaying stock trading index at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks fell for a second day Tuesday amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks have fallen for a second day amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks fell for a second day Tuesday amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange headlines the Dow Jones industrial average, Monday, April 2, 2018. Stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street as technology companies took heavy losses and investors worried about escalating trade tensions with China. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks fell for a second day Tuesday amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A currency trader yawns while working at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks have fallen for a second day amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A man looks an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index and New York Dow index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks have fallen for a second day amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A woman reacts as she and investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks fell for a second day Tuesday amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Asian stocks have fallen for a second day amid jitters about U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and mounting scrutiny of technology companies. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

LONDON — Global stock markets fell for a second day Tuesday as investors continued to fret over a looming trade war between the U.S. and China and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies.

Stocks have been trending lower for weeks largely because of a series of tariffs announced by U.S. President Donald Trump and the Facebook data privacy scandal, which has raised the prospect of tighter regulation for social media and other tech stocks.

In the last week, Trump has also tweeted repeatedly about his new favorite foe, Amazon, whose owner also owns The Washington Post, which has been critical of the Trump administration.

Trump has approved possible higher U.S. duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. Those tariffs come on top of previous proposals to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

In response, China announced it is raising tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. goods including pork, apples and steel pipe, increasing the risk of a broader conflict that might depress global trade.

"The mood remains decidedly bearish, and there is certainly no shortage of reasons to be fearful," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. "It's times like this when investors face a choice — whether to sit and await developments or plunge back in."

That was evident in the performance of stocks on Tuesday.

Returning from the long Easter holiday weekend, Europe's stock markets tracked others lower, though the scale of the losses were diminished by expectations of a rebound on Wall Street later.

In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent to 11,999 while London's FTSE 100 declined 0.2 percent to 7,037. France's CAC 40 was 0.5 percent lower at 5,140.

Wall Street was poised for some solid gains at the open Tuesday with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.5 percent. On Monday, the S&P posted its worst start to a quarter since October 2011 and saw the index fall below its 200-day moving average for the first time in almost 2 years.

U.S. technology companies are in the spotlight, notably Amazon, which posted hefty losses of around 5 percent Monday after Trump again voiced his concerns about the company on Twitter.

The sector was already in the gaze of investors after Facebook's data scandal last month that has raised the prospect of heightened regulation. Netflix, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet have all seen their share prices decline.

"Pressure on the sector doesn't appear to be going away in the near-term which will continue to act as a drag on indices," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Earlier in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8 percent to 3,163.63 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.4 percent to 21,292.29. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,751.90. Elsewhere, Seoul's Kospi ended down 27 points at 2,442.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng bucked the trend, ending up 0.2 percent at 30,137.49.

Elsewhere, the euro was flat at $1.23 while the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 106.23 yen. In the oil markets, a barrel of U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $63.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Bren crude, used to price international oils, rose 29 cents to $67.93 in London.

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