Asian stocks muted, European markets gain

MANILA, Philippines - Asian stock markets were muted Tuesday with little news to excite investors, but European shares and U.S. futures were mostly higher.

In early European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.8 percent at 6,571.0 and Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent at 9,258.50. France's CAC-40 climbed 0.9 percent at 4,314.48.

Futures augured slightly higher opening on Wall Street, with S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent at 1,851.90. Dow Jones industrial futures edged up 0.1 percent to 16,224.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.4 percent lower at 14,423.19. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 21,732.32 while China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent at 2,067.31.

Benchmarks fell in Australia, South Korea, and most of Southeast Asia and were up in Taiwan, New Zealand and Malaysia.

"The general mood is somewhat expectant of stimulus measures coming out of China," said Dariusz Kowalczyk of Credit Agricole in Hong Kong. "But there's no data in the region of a sort of first tier nature and therefore we are not seeing major market moves."

Expectations China might announce stimulus spending were boosted Monday by a survey of factory purchasing managers that showed Chinese manufacturing contracted in March.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 24 cents to $99.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents to close at $99.60 on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3835 from $1.3836 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 102.16 yen from 102.25 yen.

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