TOKYO – Global stock markets were mostly lower on Friday as investors assessed the outlook for central bank policies.
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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was down 0.7 percent at 5,164 and Germany's DAX was 0.9 percent lower at 12,330. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.1 percent to 7,483. U.S. markets were set for a subdued open, with Dow futures falling 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures trading flat.
EUROPE FACTOR: Investors have been trying to get a clearer understanding of when the European Central Bank will start fading out its stimulus program. ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday the bank hasn't even set a date for considering changes. Still, foreign exchange markets reacted by pushing the euro higher. That followed the Bank of Japan's decision Thursday to keep its monetary policy unchanged, while pushing back its expected time frame for achieving its 2 percent inflation target to 2019. There was little fresh data or other news for investors to grab onto.
THE QUOTE: "The ongoing rally in the euro was the most significant feature of the international market landscape last night. However, growing nervousness over U.S. politics and weak commodity prices has set a soft tone for this morning's market open," Ric Spooner of CMC Markets said in a commentary.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2 percent to finish at 20,099.75 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7 percent to 5,722.80. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent to 2,450.06. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down less than 0.1 percent to 26,729.08. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent at 3,237.98. India's Sensex lost 0.1 percent to 31,876.58, and benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mixed.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 39 cents to $46.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 40 cents on Thursday, to $46.92. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, shed 45 cents to $48.85 a barrel in London.
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CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.55 yen from 112.12 yen. The euro jumped to $1.1639 from $1.1507.
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