World markets mixed amid Syria tensions

World stocks mixed, oil prices up on optimism about China, tensions over Syria

Associated Press
Markets muted as focus returns to Fed

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People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo as Japan's bench mark Nikkei 225 index shows 258.36 points gain to 14,119.17 Monday morning, Sept. 9, 2013. Asian stocks opened higher on Monday, lifted by Tokyo's Olympic bid victory, Chinese export growth and an Australian conservative coalition's election victory. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stocks were mixed Wednesday amid optimism about a possible Chinese recovery and concern over a possible U.S. attack on Syria.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index, the regional heavyweight, shed early gains to flatten out at 14,425.07 points while China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 2,241.27. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 22,937.14 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5 percent to 2,003.85.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 6,575.96 in early trading. Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent to 8,468.15 while France's CAC-40 shed 0.2 percent to 4,107.38.

Traders were encouraged by signs China, an important market for its Asian neighbors, is recovering from its deepest economic slump since the 2008 global crisis. Data on Tuesday showed Chinese auto sales, factory output and investment all improved in August.

Those indicators "cemented the view that the China economy has stabilized," said DBS Bank in a report.

Citigroup raised its China growth forecast for the current quarter to 7.8 percent from 7.4 percent but warned that the rebound could be short-lived.

Sydney's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,234.40 and India's Sensex shed 0.3 percent to 19,937.19. Benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia fell while those in New Zealand and the Philippines rose.

Optimism was tempered by President Barack Obama's comments in a speech Tuesday that he had told the American military to stay prepared to attack Syria if needed.

That came after tensions that had pushed up oil prices eased Monday on hopes for a diplomatic solution following Syria's announcement it would accept a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons.

Concern over Syria had spooked investors who worry about Middle East tensions disrupting oil supplies.

On Wednesday, benchmark crude rose 36 cents to $107.74 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.13 to close at $107.39 on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial average future gained 0.1 percent while the Standard & Poor's 500 was flat in electronic trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

In currency markets, the dollar fell to 100.22 yen from 100.39 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.3272 from $1.3265.

Investors also are looking ahead to next week's meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The central bank is widely expected to announce plans to start phasing out its support program for the U.S. economy.

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