Asia Stocks Higher, EU Markets Wobbly

HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stocks rose Tuesday following another record day on Wall Street, while European stocks wobbled in early trading, buffeted by more political and economic uncertainty.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares opened generally higher. France's CAC 40 added 0.2 percent to 4,582.92 and Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.1 percent lower to 6,743.48. Germany's DAX crept up 0.1 percent to 10,705.84. U.S. stocks were poised for a flat open, with Dow futures a fraction lower at 19,205.00 and broader S&P 500 futures creeping less than 0.1 percent lower to 2,203.80.

EUROPEAN POLITICS: Leadership changes in the French government unsettled markets in early trading as investors worried about renewed political uncertainty on the continent following Italy's referendum. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced he would step down to prepare for running for president after President Francois Hollande decided not run for a second term. Market fears had largely receded after the Italian vote, which forced Premier Matteo Renzi's resignation.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: "The markets appear to have come to the realization that the concerns paid to the Italian referendum may be too much or too early," said Jingyi Pan of IG Markets in Singapore. "Relief rally has become the favorite description for the overnight trend seen in both European and U.S. stock markets as traders tuned back to riskier assets."

SOUTH KOREAN RECKONING: Top business leaders were grilled by lawmakers over allegations that President Park Geun-hye allowed a corrupt confidante to pull government strings and extort companies. With Park facing possible impeachment, the Finance Ministry said it would "frontload" nearly 70 percent of government spending for 2017 to help boost the slowing economy. Shares jumped in response.

SERVICE SURVEY: Activity at U.S. services companies grew at its fastest pace last month in more than a year, according to a monthly survey of purchasing managers. The report, which found that production, hiring and new export orders all grew faster in November than the month before, is an encouraging sign for the broader U.S. economy, the world's largest.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent to close at 18,360.54 and South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.4 percent to 1,989.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.8 percent to 22,675.15, while the Shanghai Composite index dipped 0.2 percent to 3,199.65. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.5 percent to 5,428.70. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, India and the Philippines also advanced.

ENERGY: The rally in oil prices petered out after four days of gains fueled by the OPEC deal to trim production. Benchmark U.S. crude futures lost 54 cents to $51.25 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 11 cents to $51.79 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 26 cents to $54.68 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.89 yen from 113.70 yen in Tuesday trading. The euro rose to $1.0781 from $1.0756.

(KA)