Global markets waver over worries about economy

TOKYO - Global stock markets were lacklustre Friday on lingering concerns about the slump in oil prices and uncertain prospects for the global economy.

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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was up 0.2 per cent to 4,249.77 and Germany's DAX fell 0.3 per cent in early trading to 9,436.93. Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.2 per cent to 5,983.07. U.S. shares were set to post modest gains. Dow and S&P 500 futures both rose 0.3 per cent.

ROUGH START: Stock markets have slumped since the beginning of the year as the price of oil dived and investors fretted about a slowdown in global growth. After that mauling, many markets rebounded in the past week but the underlying concerns that stock prices are too high relative to waning world growth remain.

THE QUOTE: "The past week saw the rebound in shares and other risk assets continue," said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney. "Shares have seen a decent rebound from oversold levels which may have further to go. But with global growth worries remaining it's still premature to say we have bottomed."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.4 per cent to finish at 15,967.17. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.8 per cent to 4,952.80. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 per cent to 1,916.24. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 per cent to 19,285.50 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China inched down 0.1 per cent to 2,860.02. Some other regional markets, including the Philippines and Indonesia, fell, but shares were slightly higher in Taiwan and Singapore.

ENERGY: Adding to uncertainty weak oil prices, although there has been a rally over the last few days. Investors are hoping that a round of international talks will lead to a deal that addresses a glut in oil production, but the U.S. government reported that energy stockpiles are still growing. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 22 cents to $30.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was unchanged at $34.28 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.1122 from $1.1144 on Thursday. The dollar fell to 112.99 yen from 113.09 yen.


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