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June 24, 2017

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Chinese figures raise Asia stocks, Europe closes low

SEOUL/HONG KONG--Global stocks were mixed on Tuesday with inflation data showing a weak recovery in Europe even as Chinese manufacturing was recovering from contraction.

European stocks opened lower. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent to 6,840.60 and France's CAC-40 dipped 0.1 percent to 4,510.77. Germany's DAX lost 0.2 percent to 9,927.49.

The European Union's statistics agency said that inflation in the combined economy of countries using the euro was a lower-than-expected 0.5 percent last month, down from 0.7 percent in April, suggesting demand is weak.

The decline in inflation puts more pressure on the European Central Bank to take additional measures to support the fragile economic recovery when it reviews monetary policy on Thursday.

Wall Street was set for a dull start, with Dow Jones futures losing 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.

In Asia, stocks closed mostly higher after a second Chinese manufacturing survey suggested the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy is stabilizing.

The HSBC index, which is based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, climbed to 49.4 last month from 48.1 in April. The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion. The number was weaker than 49.7 in a preliminary version of the survey because of a revision to stocks of finished goods.

On the weekend, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Chinese manufacturing grew for the third consecutive month in May. Its survey focuses on state owned companies while the HSBC survey is weighted to private businesses.

Japan's Nikkei 225, the regional heavyweight, rose 0.7 percent to 15,034.25. Japanese shares have been boosted recently by renewed weakness in the yen and expectations the country's giant government pension fund will increase its holdings of shares at the expense of bonds.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9 percent to 23,291.04. Stocks in mainland China, Taiwan and the Philippines also gained.

South Korea's Kospi erased earlier losses and finished 0.3 percent higher at 2,008.56. Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1 percent after Samsung Everland Inc., which serves as a holding company for the Samsung Group, said it would seek an initial public offering by early next year.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.7 percent to 5,479.70.

This week investors are waiting for the U.S. jobs report for May, which is due Friday. Economists expect the U.S. economy created 220,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, according to FactSet, a financial information provider.

Both Australia and India's central banks kept interest rates on hold Tuesday, with the former hoping to transition away from mining-led growth and the latter trying to stave off rising inflation.

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