Global Stocks Higher Ahead of EU Vote

TOKYO (AP) -- European shares were higher in early trading after Asian markets ended mixed Thursday ahead of a vote on whether Britain will remain in the European Union.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 rose 1.0 percent to 4,423.29 in early trading, while Germany's DAX was also up 1.0 percent at 10,174.74. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.1 percent to 6,328.61. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures rising 0.9 percent to 17,853.00. S&P 500 futures were up 1.0 percent at 2,097.40.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.1 percent to 16,238.35. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.4 percent to 20,868.34, while the Shanghai Composite declined 0.5 percent to 2,891.96. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 1,986.71. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,280.70.

BRITAIN VOTE: Investors are awaiting the outcome of the referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union. An exit may send global shares tumbling, analysts say.

THE QUOTE: "Is Brexit really important? To Britain itself, sure," said a report from DBS Bank in Hong Kong. "To the rest of the world, not so much. From a real economy perspective, Britain could fall off the map tomorrow, and Asia's growth would replace it ... No one likes to see self-harm, but the fact is Britain hasn't played a smaller role in the global economy for 400 years."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 21 cents to $49.34 a barrel. It fell 72 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $49.13 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 33 cents to $50.21 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.53 yen from 104.45 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1345 from $1.1271.

(KA)