World stock markets steady as China soothes concerns over further drops in the yuan

Energy Associated Press

Global stock markets are steady on Thursday as the decline in China's currency slowed and the country's central bank eased fears of more steep drops. Major indexes in the U.S. drifted slightly lower.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down six points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,080 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,363, and the Nasdaq composite fell four points, less than 0.1 percent, to 5,040.

BIG DATA: Cisco Systems surged after posting quarterly results that topped analysts' expectations after the market closed on Wednesday. The tech company credited rising revenue from selling data-center servers and its collaboration with other businesses. Cisco's stock gained $1.13, or 4 percent, to $29.03.

MISSED: The department-store chain Kohl's turned in quarterly sales and earnings that fell short of estimates. The news knocked its stock down $6.36, or 10 percent, to 55.19, the biggest loss in the S&P 500 index.

CHINA: Officials from China's central bank defended their efforts to loosen their grip on the country's currency, saying the yuan will eventually rebound from its recent fall. The officials also downplayed suggestions that the move was aimed at supporting the country's exports. Beijing's surprise devaluations of its currency on Tuesday shook markets around the world, sinking stocks, commodities and currencies.

ASIA'S SCORECARD: Major Asian benchmarks finished higher after a two-day slump. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent, and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.4 percent. In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index on the mainland added 1.8 percent.

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ACROSS THE POND: In Europe, Germany's DAX climbed 1 percent and France's CAC-40 surged 1.4 percent The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat.

BONDS: U.S. government bonds sank, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 2.16 percent from 2.15 percent late Wednesday.

CRUDE OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 99 cents to $42.30 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, hovering close to a six-year low. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 57 cents to $49.61 in London.