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Global stocks subdued after recent gains

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GLOBAL stocks were subdued after several indexes in Europe and Asia hit multi-year highs this week, while the price of oil pushed higher.

France’s CAC 40 was down 0.5 percent to 5,228.68 and Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent to 12,278.95. Britain’s FTSE 100 inched up 0.2 percent to 7,077.38. U.S. shares were also set for a weak open, with Dow and S&P 500 futures both flat.

News of corporate deal-making continued with Nokia saying it was in talks to buy French networks company Alcatel-Lucent. Shares in Alcatel-Lucent, which has reported losses for almost a decade, jumped 12 percent, while Nokia’s stock dropped 6 percent. A deal would help Nokia become a bigger player in the global networks market.

Earlier, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed barely unchanged, inching up 0.02 percent to finish at 19,908.68. Investors were looking to sell after the index reached the psychologically key 20,000 mark momentarily last week. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2 percent to 5,946.60. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,111.72, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent to 27,595.32.

Investors have their eyes on economic growth data on China, set to be released later in the week. Monday’s trade data, showing a contraction by a bigger margin than expected, added to speculation of more stimulus measures.

“Asian markets haven’t managed to match the exceptional performance seen yesterday. Today seems to be a day of consolidation ahead of a data dump from China tomorrow,” said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 43 cents to $52.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many oils imported by U.S. refineries, gained 33 cents to $59.37 a barrel.


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