Global Stocks Meander in Midsummer Lull

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian shares meandered Wednesday in a post-earnings season, mid-summer lull, as investors awaited U.S. retail sales data later in the week.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was down less than 0.1 percent at 6,850.02 while France's CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent to 4,463.18. Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent to 10,666.51. Futures augured a lukewarm opening on Wall Streets. Dow futures added 0.1 percent and S&P futures also edged up 0.1 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "It's a slow grind in markets at present, which will please many in the investment community but frustrate the day traders out there," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said in a daily commentary. Weston said while traders are watching the moves of the dollar, oil and interest rates, they "are not at levels likely to cause any real anxiety in broader risk sentiment."

DATA: The Japan's government said earlier in the day that the country's core private-sector machinery orders grew a seasonally adjusted 8.3 percent in June from May, a rebound from two straight months of decline. The data were seen as encouraging, though business investment remained weak in the April to June quarter.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to 16,735.12 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent to 22,492.43. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 5,543.70. South Korea's Kospi added less than 0.1 percent to 2,044.64. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore also were higher, but markets in China, Indonesia and New Zealand declined.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 46 cents to $42.31 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $42.77 per barrel on Tuesday, ending a rally after the U.S. government raised the forecast on domestic crude production. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 44 cents at $44.54 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 101.39 yen from 101.94 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1177 from $1.1113.

(KA)