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World stocks uneven; Wall St. futures slide.

European markets swung between gains and losses in early trading. France's CAC 40 was down 0.3 per cent to 4,617.72 and Germany's DAX was little changed at 10,738.14. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.6 per cent to 6,772.63.

Hong Kong: World stock markets were uneven on Friday and Wall Street futures slid ahead of quarterly growth figures that will show whether weakness in China, Japan and Europe has hit the US economy.

European markets swung between gains and losses in early trading. France's CAC 40 was down 0.3 per cent to 4,617.72 and Germany's DAX was little changed at 10,738.14. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.6 per cent to 6,772.63. US stocks were set to open with a thud. Dow futures lost 0.7 per cent to 17,311. Broader S&P 500 futures were down 0.6 per cent to 2,006.80.

A FactSet survey of analysts forecast that the US economy grew 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter. The US zoomed ahead in the third quarter while Europe, Japan and China struggled. The fourth quarter report will show whether the momentum continued or succumbed to global headwinds.

Japan's industrial output edged higher in December, suggesting the world's third-largest economy may be turning the corner on a recession brought on by a hefty sales tax hike. Manufacturing output increased 0.3 per cent in December from a year earlier and by 1 per cent from the month before. Japan's jobless rate dipped to 3.4 per cent from 3.5 per cent the month before. But stagnant wages meant household spending dropped 3.4 per cent from a year earlier.

"Japanese manufacturing activity continues its steady recovery, thanks to strong demand from overseas," HSBC economist Izumi Devalier said in a report. "The electronics and auto industries have been the key beneficiaries of the improvement in external demand, especially from the United States."

Worries about a new probe by Chinese regulators into margin trading depressed sentiment in Chinese markets. The China Securities Regulatory Commission plans to inspect 45 brokers, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. Shanghai shares plunged earlier this month after the regulator imposed margin trading curbs on major brokerages. The mood was also cautious ahead of monthly factory data on the weekend that will show whether the world's No. 2 economy continues to slow.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4 per cent to close at 17,674.39 while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.1 per cent to 1,949.26. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 per cent to 5,588.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.4 per cent to 24,507.05 and China's Shanghai Composite dropped 1.6 per cent to 3,210.36.

World oil prices edged higher in nervous deals, having dramatically slumped close to a six-year low the previous day on the back of record US crude stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery added 41 cents to $44.94 a barrel, one day after striking a March 2009 low of $43.58. European benchmark Brent North Sea crude for March rose 36 cents to $49.49 a barrel in midday London deals.

Gold is headed its for its worst week in two months even as it edged higher on Friday, following a 2 per cent slide in the previous session on expectations for a US interest rate rise. Spot gold was up 0.6 per cent at $1,263.35 an ounce at 1245 GMT, while US gold futures for February delivery were up $8.20 an ounce at $1,262.80.

The dollar fell to 117.62 yen from 118.20 the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1343 from $1.1327.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 30, 2015
Words:654
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