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​Global stocks lower after Wall Street gains

BEIJING - Global stock markets were mostly lower Thursday after Wall Street gained on expectations U.S. interest rates will stay low.

In early trading, France's CAC-40 was off 1.3 percent at 4,387.89 points and Germany's DAX retreated 0.8 percent to 9,969.20. London's FTSE 100 shed 0.8 percent to 6,150.56. On Wednesday, the DAX gained 2.1 percent, the CAC 40 rose 2.3 percent and the FTSE 100 added 1.8 percent.

On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index were both flat.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent to 16,758.67 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.1 percent to 20,776.70. Seoul's Kospi shed 0.3 percent to 1,995.85 and Singapore, Bangkok and Manila also declined. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.1 percent to 3,003.92 and India's Sensex gained 0.3 percent to 25,405.28. New Zealand and Jakarta also rose.

Traders were encouraged by U.S. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen's comments affirming plans to move slowly in raising rates. Analysts noted Yellen repeated previous statements they said still allow for rate hikes. "Global markets will probably still have to contend with more Fed tightening this year," Julian Jessop of Capital Economics said in a report. But traders were reassured following suggestions by other Fed officials in favor of considering earlier rate hikes.

"How long is this rebound going to last? No one can really give an answer at the moment; but one thing for sure is that Yellen's re-affirmed dovish stance gave the market sufficient comfort and room to breathe," Margaret Yang Yan of CMC Markets said in a report. "The chance of an April rate hike has diminished, and whether or not a June hike will materialize has now become more questionable."

Stocks rose Wednesday as technology companies traded higher and consumer companies gained steam. The financial sector recovered some of its losses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.55 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,716.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 8.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,063.95. The Nasdaq composite index added 22.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,869.29.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 72 cents to $37.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 4 cents on Wednesday to close at $38.32. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 47 cents to $39.58 in London. It advanced 20 cents on Wednesday to $40.05.

The dollar rose to 112.43 yen from Wednesday's 112.35 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1348 from $1.1335.

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