Global Stocks Mixed on Oil Price Worry

MANILA, Philippines (AP) --- Global stocks were mixed Thursday amid concerns over falling oil prices and a forecast easing of world demand for it. In Asia, there was some disappointment over New Zealand central bank's interest rate cut and volumes were affected by the closure of Japan's stock exchange for a holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.3 percent at 6,844.14, also after a survey from the United Kingdom's Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed house price growth is at the lowest in three years following Britain's vote to exit the European Union. France's CAC 40 was up 0.6 percent at 4,477.96. Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent at 10,703.36. U.S. futures augur higher opening on Wall Street, with the Dow futures up 0.2 percent at 18,494 and the S&P futures up 0.2 percent at 2,171.98.

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished 0.4 percent up at 22,580.55. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.6 percent at 5,508. China's Shanghai Composite lost earlier gains, slipping 0.5 percent to 3,002.64. South Korea's KOSPI edged up 0.2 percent to 2,048.80. New Zealand's NZE 50 index regained earlier losses, edging up less than 0.1 percent at 7,353.83. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST QUOTE: "All eyes will now turn to Friday's retail sales figures from the U.S., which could provide the market with some direction," said Alex Furber, senior client services executive at CMC Markets. "Investors are currently weighing the low interest rate environment against high valuations."

GLOBAL OIL DEMAND: The International Energy Agency expects global demand for oil to grow less than previously expected next year due to a weaker economy. The Paris-based agency, which consults oil-importing nations, lowered its forecast for demand growth next year to 1.2 million barrels a day from 1.3 million barrels a day previously. That would be a slowdown from this year's growth of 1.4 million barrels a day. The price of oil has fallen in recent weeks. The recent drop in prices appears due to a combination of waning expectations of economic growth and high supply. The IEA noted global supply rose in July and that there was an inventory overhang in June.

NEW ZEALAND'S CUT: New Zealand's central bank on Thursday cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low 2 percent, but its efforts to boost inflation and lower the currency failed to impress traders, who bid the New Zealand dollar higher. The Reserve Bank cut the rate by a quarter-point in a move that was widely anticipated by economists, although some had thought the bank might go further with a half-point cut. In its projections, the bank predicted only modest future rate cuts when some had expected deeper cuts. The so-called kiwi dollar jumped by more than 1 percent after the announcement before easing a little to trade at $0.73.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 41 cents to $41.30 after closing at $41.71 a barrel in New York Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 22 cents to $43.83 in London from $44.05.

CURRENCIES: In currency markets, the dollar rose to 101.36 yen from 101.20 on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1150 from $1.185.

(KA)