Global stocks ease back after earnings-driven gains

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) " Global stocks mostly fell Wednesday, amid quiet summer trading and questions about the sustainability of some indexes' rise to record highs.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent at 6,836 while France's CAC 40 dipped 0.3 percent to 4,454. Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent to 10,642. Futures augured a lukewarm opening on Wall Streets. Dow futures were flat and S&P futures edged up 0.1 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "It's a slow grind in markets at present, which will please many in the investment community but frustrate the day traders out there," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said in a daily commentary. Weston said while traders are watching the moves of the dollar, oil and interest rates, they "are not at levels likely to cause any real anxiety in broader risk sentiment."

US RECORDS: Investors have been watching U.S. markets, where the three major stock indexes hit record highs on Friday. The Nasdaq on Tuesday hit another high. Part of the reason is that corporate earnings, most of which have now been reported, seem to have been relatively good for the second quarter. Looking ahead, investors will keep an eye on U.S. retail sales figures due later in the week.

ASIA'S DAY: Earlier, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to 16,735.12 despite a report showing private sector machinery orders rebounded in June from May. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent to 22,492.43. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 5,543.70. South Korea's Kospi added less than 0.1 percent to 2,044.64. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore also were higher, but markets in China, Indonesia and New Zealand declined.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 32 cents to $42.47 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 25 cents on Tuesday, ending a rally after the U.S. government raised the forecast on domestic crude production. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 17 cents at $44.81 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 101.19 yen from 101.94 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1186 from $1.1113.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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