Global Shares Mostly Higher Thursday

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares were mostly higher on Thursday, with Japan leading an advance in Asia. Share prices fell in South Korea despite signs tensions with its rival North Korea may be easing.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.7 percent in early trading to 5,368.63, while Germany's DAX also gained 0.7 percent to 13,072.48. Britain's FTSE 100 edged nearly 0.2 percent higher to 7,682.35. U.S. shares were also set for gains with Dow futures up 0.3 percent at 24,939. S&P 500 futures added 0.1 percent to 2,713.20.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 3.3 percent to finish at 23,506.33 in the celebratory first trading session of the year. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 6,077.10. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.8 percent to 2,466.46, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 30,736.48, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5 percent to 3,385.71. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

NORTH KOREA: Shares fell in South Korea on selling of automaker stocks despite surprise overtures from Pyongyang suggesting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may seek better ties with the south. Seoul quickly offered to meet, and the two sides made preliminary contact through a newly reopened cross-border communication channel. It was unclear if those moves will help vanquish the shadow cast over the region by North Korea's missile launches and its strongest-ever nuclear bomb test.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $61.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.26, or 2.1 percent, to $61.63 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 14 cents to $67.98 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.64 yen from 112.36 yen. The euro rose to $1.2031 from $1.2014.