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World shares drift as central bank cues awaited

TOKYO/KONG KONG--World shares drifted Wednesday as investors watched for cues from central banks and Thailand's market stabilized a day after the country's military declared martial law.

European trading got off to a tepid start, with Britain's FTSE 100 little changed at 6,798.49. France's CAC 30 was slightly higher at 4,453.93 and Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent at 9,662.53.

U.S. markets looked set to reverse the losses driven by lackluster earnings from retailers the day before. Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures were both up 0.3 percent.

Investors were holding back from major moves ahead of the release later Wednesday of minutes from recent policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England.

Asia's markets were mixed on Wednesday after a tumble on Wall Street, with Tokyo weighed by a stronger yen as the Bank of Japan held off fresh monetary easing measures and said the economy was picking up.

Tokyo slipped 0.24 percent, or 33.08 points, to 14,042.17, while Seoul lost 0.15 percent, or 2.93 points, to close at 2,008.33.

Sydney was flat, edging up 4.25 points to 5,424.6, while Shanghai gained 0.84 percent, or 16.83 points, to 2,024.95. Hong Kong was also flat, ending up 1.84 points at 22,836.52.

The BOJ stood pat on its stimulus program, saying growth was picking up pace despite worries that last month's sales tax

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