HONG KONG – World stock benchmarks were uneven Wednesday as Greek and EU officials tried once again to break the deadlock over Greece's bailout terms. The yen jumped after Japan's central bank chief said the currency's slide had ended.
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KEEPING SCORE: European stocks were mixed in early trading. Germany's DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 10,989.14 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.2 percent to 4,842.69. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 6,759.24. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent to 17,796.00. Broader S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent to 2,084.00.
GREEK TALKS: The prime minister is meeting in Brussels with the leaders of Germany and France in a bid to come up with a breakthrough in bailout talks that have revived fears his country could default and drop out of the euro. The Mediterranean country has three weeks to ink a deal to get creditors to release the final bailout funds before that program expires, but analysts are uncertain whether this latest meeting will produce anything new.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 122.86 yen from 124.38 yen. The yen jumped against the dollar after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, in response to a lawmaker's question, said the currency is not likely to continue falling. The euro rose to 1.1348 from $1.129.
CHINA INDEX: Global stock-index compiler MSCI Inc. said it would not be including Chinese stocks in its global benchmarks until after a few issues related to market accessibility are resolved. Many investors had expected approval this week but the decision to put it on hold sent Shanghai shares slightly lower. The benchmark has surged in the past few days, driven by the expectation that inclusion in MSCI indexes would spur more capital into Chinese markets. Expectations of new economic stimulus measures in China have also boosted Chinese stocks.
THE QUOTE: "We believe that A-share sentiment will be hurt by MSCI's decision," said HSBC's China equity strategist Roger Xie, referring to yuan-denominated stocks traded in mainland China. "As the Shanghai Composite has risen by more than 50 percent year-to-date, the news could trigger some profit-taking."
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ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent to close at 20,046.36 and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6 percent to 2,051.32. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent to 26,687.64 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.1 percent lower at 5,478.60. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China edged 0.1 percent lower to 5,106.04.
SAMSUNG FATE: Shares of construction and trading firm Samsung C&T closed up 10 percent as U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates stepped up its efforts to thwart a proposed takeover by an affiliated company. Elliott filed an injunction with a Seoul court on Tuesday saying the takeover deal puts Samsung C&T at a significant discount. The hedge fund's move generated speculation that Samsung would do more to protect shareholder value.
MERS FEAR: Shares of South Korean companies that count Chinese consumers as key clients fell as investors fretted that the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea would lead to a decline in Chinese tourists and overseas travel. Airliners and cosmetics industries were among the biggest losers. Shares of Amorepacific Corp. dropped nearly 3 percent and Korean Air Lines Co. closed 4 percent lower. Asiana Airlines plunged nearly 7 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 80 cents to $60.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.00 to close at $60.14 a barrel in Nymex floor trading on Tuesday after an Energy Department monthly report predicted a decline in U.S. output later this year and next. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, rose 94 cents to $66.41 in London.