World markets lower on Cyprus uncertainty

World stocks mostly lower on Cyprus fears; Japan falls on bank chief's first speech

Associated Press
World markets mixed, Cyprus talks continue
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A man looks at an electric stock index display of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, March 22, 2013. Japanese stocks tumbled Friday as investors were disappointed by a lack of specifics from the new central bank chief on boosting the economy while other Asian markets fluctuated because of uncertainty over Cyprus' troubled bank restructuring. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- World stocks were mostly lower Friday as it remained uncertain how an impasse on Cyprus' bailout talks will be resolved.

In addition, Japanese stocks tumbled after the country's new central bank chief, Haruhiko Kuroda, delivered his first speech since taking office. Kuroda reiterated a pledge to bring Asia's second biggest economy out of deflation but offered few specifics.

In Europe, Cyprus has again delayed a meeting in which parliament is due to discuss how its banks and government can be recapitalized after rejecting a plan backed by European leaders — to tax depositors — earlier this week.

Cyprus's banks have now been closed for a week, and the European Central Bank has threatened to cut off an emergency program supporting them if a solution is not found by the end of Monday.

"With this announcement, the ECB has put an impressive literal gun at the head of Cyprus as banks would probably go bust without ELA once they re-open their doors," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski in a note. "However, it is hard to imagine that the ECB would really be willing to be the one to pull the trigger which could eventually even lead to a Cypriot exit from the eurozone."

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 6,381.66. Germany's DAX lost 0.3 percent to 7,906.76, and France's CAC-40 shed 0.6 percent to 3,752.79.

Wall Street futures were mixed after moderate declines Thursday, with Dow Jones industrial futures signaling a 9 point rise from yesterday's close to 14,356, while S&P 500 futures put the index's open down about 8 points to 1,538.75.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 plummeted 2.4 percent to close at 12,338.53 after Kuroda's remarks.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 22,115.30. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.1 percent at 1,948.71. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also fell.

Mainland Chinese shares gained for the fourth straight trading day, with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.1 percent to 2,328.28 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 960.84.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 4,967.30.

The euro rose to $1.2933 from $1.2899 in late trading Thursday, while the yen was stronger against the dollar at 94.44 from 94.92.

Oil prices rose, with benchmark crude for May delivery up 20 cents to $92.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York.

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Associated Press Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this story from Hong Hong.

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