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Stock markets inch higher, investors ready for news

SEOUL/HONG KONG -- Global stock markets mostly inched higher Monday as investors prepared for a busy week of economic news that will give new clues about the strength of the global recovery.

European markets were steady in early trading. Britain's FTSE and France's CAC-40 were nearly flat at 6,761.24 and 4,438.43 respectively while Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent to 9,845.17.

Wall Street was set for a tepid session. Dow Jones futures were down 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures were little changed.

Trading this week is likely to turn on data from China and the U.S. and a European Central Bank meeting. Last week, Asian stock markets were buffeted by weak U.S. consumer spending and sluggish growth in Chinese industrial profits.

A preliminary reading of China's manufacturing for June, due Tuesday, will be scrutinized for evidence the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy has stabilized.

Monthly U.S. employment figures are due Thursday. On the same day, the European Central Bank holds its monthly rate-setting meeting, where it is widely expected to stick with its easing stance.

Asia's markets were mixed Monday despite a positive lead from Wall Street, as traders await the release of key economic data this week including figures on global manufacturing and U.S. jobs.

Tokyo climbed 0.44 percent, or 67.10 points to finish at 15,162.10, Seoul rose 0.69 percent, or 13.70 points, to 2,002.21 and Shanghai ended 0.59 percent higher, adding 11.82 points to 2,048.33.

However, Sydney slipped 0.91 percent, or 49.4 points, to close at 5,395.7 while Hong Kong was marginally lower, edging down 21.20 points to 23,200.32.

A preliminary report from HSBC earlier in the month showed growth in China for the first time this year.

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This April 22, 2010 file photo shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stock markets mostly inched higher Monday, June 30 as investors prepared for a busy week of economic news that will give new clues about the strength of the global recovery. Wall Street was set for a tepid session. (AP)

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