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World stocks struggle after Wall Street rally eases off

HONG KONG--World stock markets struggled for direction Tuesday after Wall Street fell for the first time in seven days, in a possible sign that investors were pausing to re-evaluate the market's recent highs.

In European trading, France's CAC 40 was flat at 4,515.41 and Germany's DAX slipped less than 0.1 percent to 9.913.06. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies slipped 0.3 percent to 6,780.77.

U.S. stocks were poised to edge lower, with Dow futures down 0.1 percent to 16,824.00 and broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent to 1,950.40. A day before, the two U.S. benchmarks ended lower by a fraction, a possible sign of a summer lull after a record-setting run.

Markets had little to go on a day after a mixed batch of economic data releases, including upbeat monthly reports on existing U.S. home sales and China manufacturing and a disappointing eurozone business indicator. Concerns about geopolitical turmoil stemming from the turmoil in Iraq also lingered.

“While there hasn't been much data for the market to work off, it seems the improvement in sentiment in U.S. trade was enough to see glimpses of positive momentum in Asia,” said Stan Shamu, IG Markets strategist in Melbourne.

Asian shares were mostly higher on Tuesday, with most markets reversing morning losses while the more positive mood in equities supported the dollar and euro against the yen.

The gains came despite a tepid lead from Wall Street, where healthy housing figures were offset by disappointing eurozone economic data.

Tokyo rebounded from early profit-taking to end a touch higher, adding 6.96 points to 15,376.24 — a five-month high — while Seoul jumped 0.98 percent, or 19.43 points, to 1,994.35.

Hong Kong rebounded slightly after Monday's heavy selling, rose 0.33 percent, or 75.83 points, to 22,880.64, while Shanghai advanced 0.47 percent, or 9.56 points, to 2,033.93,

However, Sydney fell 0.38 percent, or 20.5 points, to close at 5,432.8.

Trade remained uninspired despite a survey Monday indicating Chinese manufacturing in June growing for the first time this year, raising hopes for the economy.

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