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Global stock markets struggle to make gains

First Published      Last Updated Jun 30 2014 08:51 am

Seoul, South Korea • World stock markets were subdued on Monday as investors prepared for a busy week of economic news that will give new clues about the strength of the global recovery.

By midafternoon in Europe, Britain's FTSE and France's CAC 40 were down 0.2 percent at 6,744.01 and 4,426.43 respectively while Germany's DAX added 0.2 percent to 9,838.71. A report showing inflation in the eurozone remained at a low 0.5 percent failed to shake markets as it is unlikely to affect the European Central Bank's policy decisions at its meeting this week.

Trading was tepid on Wall Street after the open. The Dow was down 0.2 percent at 16,814.95 and the S&P 500 was little changed at 1,960.15.

Trading this week is likely to turn on data from China and the U.S. and the ECB meeting. Last week, Asian stock markets were buffeted by weak U.S. consumer spending and sluggish growth in Chinese industrial profits.

A preliminary reading of China's manufacturing activity in June, due Tuesday, will be scrutinized for evidence the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy has stabilized.

Monthly U.S. employment figures are due Thursday. On the same day, the European Central Bank holds its monthly rate-setting meeting, where it is widely expected to keep its policies unchanged, having taken aggressive steps last month to help the economy.

In Asia, most markets closed higher. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 percent to 15,162.10, reversing morning losses. Japan's economy ministry said the country's industrial output recovered slightly in May from a fall in the previous month.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.7 percent to 2,002.21 and China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.6 percent to 2,048.33.

Stocks in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia also rose. But Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent to 5,395.70, one day ahead of the central bank's rate-setting meeting.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent to 23,190.72.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 17 cents to $105.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 10 cents on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 101.38 yen from 101.41 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.3664 from $1.3648, reversing an earlier drop.