Europe higher, Asia mostly lower before Fed chair speech

Yuri Kageyama (Associated Press) - March 29, 2016 - 5:52am

TOKYO — European stocks rose in early trading and Asian shares mostly slipped Tuesday as investors awaited a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief. Shares had ended mixed on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.7 percent to 4,361.13 early in the day. Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent to 9,888.94. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.4 percent to 6,130.77. U.S. shares were set to be little changed with Dow futures inching down 0.03 percent to 17,442, while S&P 500 futures added 0.06 percent to 2,029.20.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to finish at 17,103.53. South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent to 1,994.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 20,366.30, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.3 percent to 2,919.83. Other regional markets, such as Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines, were lower.

WALL STREET: Shares were mixed on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.66 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,535.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.11 points to 2,037.05, ending a three-day losing streak. The Nasdaq composite index lost 6.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,766.79. Stocks have flagged over the last few days after a five-week rally.

JAPAN MIXED: Japan released consumption data that showed household spending was growing but retail sales were weakening. The fluctuating dollar has also contributed to directionless trading lately.

THE FED: Investors were watching for any signs of future interest rate plans in Chair Janet Yellen's speech at the Economic Club of New York later in the day.

THE QUOTE: "There are plenty of opportunities to evaluate the state of the U.S. economy this week, and markets globally will look for cues from ... Fed members and non-farm payrolls on Friday," said Alex Furber, senior client services executive at CMC Markets in Singapore.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 50 cents to $38.89 a barrel in New York. It fell 7 cents to $39.39 Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 41 cents to $40.46 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro inched up to $1.1178 from $1.1170. The dollar edged up to 113.67 yen from 113.52 yen.

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