World markets mixed, Cyprus talks continue

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 22, 2013 18:16 hrs

World stocks were mixed Friday as strong earnings reports in the U.S. helped offset concerns in Europe over Cyprus' unresolved bailout talks.

In Europe, shares recovered from early losses as Cyprus headed toward a weekend of difficult negotiations on how to recapitalize its banking sector. The country's President Nicos Anastasiades said he was aware that any solution will involve pain.

Cyprus's banks have been closed for a week, and the European Central Bank has threatened to cut off an emergency program supporting them if a solution is not found by the end of Monday.

"The ECB has put an impressive literal gun at the head of Cyprus as banks would probably go bust without...(support) once they re-open their doors," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski in a note. "However, it is hard to imagine that the ECB would really be willing to be the one to pull the trigger which could eventually even lead to a Cypriot exit from the eurozone."

Germany's DAX closed 0.3 percent lower at 7,911.35 while France's CAC-40 shed just 0.1 percent to 3,770.29. Britain's FTSE 100 closed 0.1 percent higher at 6,392.76

Wall Street rose after strong earnings reports from Nike and Tiffany & Co., among others, with the Dow gaining 0.6 percent to 14,504.41 and the broader S&P 500 index up by the same rate to 1,554.90.

In the Asian session, Japanese stocks tumbled after the country's new central bank chief, Haruhiko Kuroda, delivered his first speech since taking office. Kuroda reiterated a pledge to bring Asia's second biggest economy out of deflation but disappointed investors by offering few specifics.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 2.4 percent to close at 12,338.53 after Kuroda's remarks.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 22,115.30. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.1 percent at 1,948.71. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also fell.

Mainland Chinese shares gained for the fourth straight trading day, with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.1 percent to 2,328.28 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 960.84.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 4,967.30.

Oil prices rose, with benchmark crude for May delivery up 28 cents to $92.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York.

The euro rose to $1.2983 from $1.2899 late Thursday, while the dollar was slightly weaker against the yen at 94.49.


Associated Press Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this story from Hong Hong.

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