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Global stocks mostly higher, Tokyo falls
World | business | 17:57, 01 April 2014 | 1263

AKIPRESS.COM - Global stock markets Global stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday as the Fed's vow to keep interest rates low offset weak economic indicators from China and Japan, The New Zealand Herald reported.

European stocks were higher in early trading. Germany's DAX gained 0.4 percent to 9,597.86 and France's CAC-40 rose 0.6 percent to 4,417.27. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent to 6,624.37.

Wall Street was set to gain with S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent at 1,867.20. Dow futures rose 0.2 percent to 16,399. Stock markets in the U.S. rose the day before after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said U.S. interest rates would stay low for some time and that momentum continued Tuesday.

But the Nikkei 225, the main index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, closed down 0.2 percent at 14,791.99. Japan's sales tax rose Tuesday to 8 percent from 5 percent, a change needed to help stabilize government finances but also a possible setback for consumer demand and economic recovery. Separately, the central bank's quarterly business survey showed muted confidence that could affect spending and investment plans.

HSBC's manufacturing index fell to 48.0 from 48.5, slightly worse than a preliminary report and its third consecutive monthly drop. Both indexes use a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

Seoul's Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 1,991.98. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 5,389.17. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3 percent to 22,338.54 and China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.7 percent to 2,047.46.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3793 from $1.3776 late Monday. The dollar rose to 103.25 yen from 102.20 yen.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 27 cents at $101.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 9 cents to $101.58 on Monday.

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