LONDON (AP) — Most world stock markets fell Friday after disappointing economic data in the U.S. and as oil prices rose due to the spread of violence in Iraq. Several Asian indexes, however, edged higher amid hopes over China's economy.
Sentiment has been subdued since a U.S. report on Thursday showed retail sales in the world's largest economy did not grow as much as expected in May. Further denting optimism was the rise in oil prices, which can hurt the growth prospects for companies.
In Europe, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.4 percent to 4,536.42 and Germany's DAX lost 0.5 percent to 9,889.08. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1 percent to 6,776.37.
In the U.S., the Dow was down 0.1 percent at 16,722.15 while the S&P 500 edged down by the same rate, to 1,928.11. Shares in Intel jumped 7 percent after the chipmaker said sales of computers to businesses were stronger than expected.
Traders were monitoring developments in Iraq, where Islamic militants vowed to march on Baghdad after pushing deep into parts of the country's Sunni heartland previously controlled by U.S. forces. U.S. officials ruled out putting troops back on the ground.
"For traders often jaded by seemingly constant news of potential geopolitical risks, the situation in Iraq looks a real concern," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "Markets have been surprised by the speed and extent of rebel incursions into the south."
The U.S. benchmark oil contract for July delivery was up 18 cents to $106.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.13 on Thursday.
In Asia, stocks fared better on the news that Chinese industrial production rose 8.8 percent in May, in line with analyst expectations, while retail sales grew faster and fixed asset investment expanded at a slower pace.
The latest numbers fueled hopes that recent mini-stimulus measures by authorities will prevent the economy from slowing too sharply.
"The overall May data confirmed moderate recovery in the economy in the second quarter," economists at JP Morgan wrote in a research report.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 recouped earlier losses to close 0.8 percent higher at 15,097.84. South Korea's Kospi lost 1 percent to end at 1,990.85.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.6 percent to 23,319.17 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China added 0.9 percent to 2,070.71. Australia's S&P/ASX lost 0.4 percent to 5,405.10.
In currencies, the euro slid 0.1 percent to $1.3543 while the pound rose 0.2 percent against the dollar, nearing a 5-year after the Bank of England hinted it could raise interest rates sooner than previously expected.
The dollar rose 0.3 percent against the yen, to 102.05 yen.
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