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Global stocks lower as dealers wait on central bankers' data

BEIJING/HONG KONG--Global stocks were mostly lower Tuesday as investors digested signals from the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers and looked ahead to data expected to show an improving U.S. economy.

In morning trading, France's CAC-40 was off 0.1 percent at 4,338.03 and Germany's DAX was down 0.4 percent at 9,473.80. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent to 6,793 after being closed Monday for a public holiday. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 were little changed. On Monday, the S&P briefly rose past the 2,000-point mark and closed at a second record high in a week.

The Dow added 0.44 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 0.41 percent to its best close since the dot-com crash 14 years ago.

The U.S. dollar has risen against major currencies since U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's speech to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming conference Friday was seized upon by traders as suggesting the Fed is inching toward interest rate hikes because of faster-than-expected improvement in employment. The dollar's strength was reinforced by comments from Japanese and European central bankers that suggested their economies will remain on life-support for longer than the U.S.

Investors looked ahead to Tuesday's data on durable goods orders, followed by economic growth on Thursday. Durable goods spending is expected to rise as much as 18 percent over the previous month, driven by a surge in aircraft sales by Boeing Co. That could help to shore up sentiment after new home sales fell 2.4 percent last month, suggesting a construction recovery was struggling.

“We expect this week's U.S. growth numbers to be mixed but positive,” said Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics in a report.

The presidents of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus were due to meet Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, in a possible step toward trying to reach a negotiated end to unrest in Ukraine. Tension over an insurgency by pro-Russian forces has roiled energy markets, which worried about the impact of possible Western sanctions on Russian oil exports.

Asian markets were mixed Tuesday, while Japan's Nikkei succumbed to a stronger yen.

Tokyo fell 0.59 percent, or 92.03 points, to 15,521.22 and Hong Kong shed 0.37 percent, or 92.41 points, to end at 25,074.50 after hitting a six-year high on Monday.

Shanghai sank 0.99 percent, or 22.17 points, to 2,207.11 on lingering concerns about the economy while expectations of fresh measures to kick-start it fade.

Sydney ended flat, adding 2.7 points to 5,637.6 and Seoul was 0.35 percent higher, putting on 7.16 points to 2,068.05.

Asian markets were unable to extend their gains from Monday, however, and the dollar lost its momentum after hitting a seven-month high against the yen.

In Japanese trade the greenback fetched 103.88 yen, compared with 104.01 yen late in New York and well off the 104.18 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.

The euro bought US$1.3191 and 137.10 yen Tuesday against US$1.3193 and 137.23 yen in U.S. trade.

Gold traded at US$1,289.25 an ounce at 0800 GMT compared to US$1,277.98 an ounce late Monday.

In other markets:

— Wellington added 0.25 percent, or 12.89 points, to 5,195.63.

Contact Energy was up 0.36 percent at NZ$5.55 and Air New Zealand slipped 0.46 percent to NZ$2.15.

— Manila put on 0.19 percent, or 13.26 points, to 7,146.35.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. gained 2.73 percent to 3,390 pesos while Alliance Global Group was unchanged at 25 pesos.

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Traders Fred DeMarco, left, and Greg Mulligan confer on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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