Europe shares up slightly in early trading after Asian markets dive on global economy jitters

European stock markets opened with slight gains Thursday after a nosedive in Asia as falling oil prices reinforced jitters about a sluggish global economy.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was up 0.2 percent at 4,235.37 in early trading while Germany's DAX perked up 0.2 percent to 9,819.20. Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent to 6,506.76. Dow futures augured a rebound on Wall Street, rising 0.3 percent to 17,592. S&P 500 futures were up 0.3 percent at 2,032.10

ENERGY: Oil was slightly higher after tumbling Wednesday. The price of oil has now dropped more than 40 percent from a peak of $107 in June because of weak demand and oversupply. An OPEC report has projected that demand for its crude would sink next year to levels not seen in more than a decade. On Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude was up 25 cents at $61.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dived $2.88 to close at $60.94 a barrel on Wednesday

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's benchmark, the Nikkei 225, fell 0.9 percent to close at 17,257.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.9 percent to 23,312.54 while South Korea's Kospi slipped 1.5 percent to 1,916.59. Shares were also lower in Taiwan, Singapore and Australia. China's Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.5 percent to 2,925.72.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Stocks are being sold as part of a global risk-off trend, and behind that are falling oil prices," Hideyuki Ishiguro, strategist at Okasan Securities Co. said on NTV, using the term to describe investors selling and moving to more stable investments when risks are rising. He was optimistic in the longer term because falling oil prices could eventually provide a boost to the global economy.

JAPAN ELECTION: If the pro-business ruling party wins the weekend nationwide parliamentary elections, as opinion polls are showing, the Tokyo stock market could start rising again. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking a renewed mandate for his "Abenomics" policies to end two decades of economic stagnation.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 118.26 yen from 117.57 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.2463 from $1.2488.


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