World stocks struggle as investors take stock

Associated Press
Trader Luigi Muccitelli works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, June 23, 2014. Stocks are edging lower in early trading after indexed closed last week at record highs. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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Trader Luigi Muccitelli works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, June 23, 2014. Stocks are edging lower in early trading after indexed closed last week at record highs. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

HONG KONG (AP) — World stock markets struggled for direction Tuesday after Wall Street fell for the first time in seven days, in a possible sign that investors were pausing to re-evaluate the market's recent highs.

By midafternoon in Europe, Germany's DAX was flat at 9.919.08 and France's CAC 40 was up 0.1 percent at 4,518.85. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies slipped 0.2 percent to 6,784.99.

U.S. stocks were similarly sluggish, with the Dow steady at 16,942 and the broader S&P 500 up 0.1 percent to 1,963.54. The two U.S. benchmarks have failed to gain much ground in recent days, a possible sign of a summer lull after a record-setting run.

Markets had little to go on a day after a mixed batch of economic data releases, including upbeat monthly reports on existing U.S. home sales and China manufacturing and a disappointing eurozone business indicator. Concerns about geopolitical turmoil stemming from the turmoil in Iraq also lingered.

One market that did find some momentum was Russia's stock index, the Micex, which rallied 1.9 percent after President Vladimir Putin asked parliament to cancel a resolution sanctioning the use of military force in Ukraine. The move was hailed by his Ukrainian counterpart as a "practical step" toward bringing peace to the region.

Earlier, in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 pulled back from earlier losses to edge 0.1 percent higher to close at 15,376.24.

South Korea's Kospi rose 1 percent to 1,994.35 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 22,880.64. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China gained 0.5 percent to 2,033.93.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4 percent to 5,432.80 as investors took profits a day after a big gain.

In energy trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery rose 8 cents to $106.25 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 66 cents to $106.17 on Monday.

In currencies, the dollar edged up to 102.07 Japanese yen from 101.91 in late trading Monday. The euro was steady at $1.3601.

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