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​Global stocks mixed on improved China, Japan data

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BEIJING - Global stocks were mixed Wednesday after Japan upgraded its growth estimate and China reported weak but improved trade in May.

In early trading, Germany's DAX was off 0.5 percent at 10,236.67 points and France's CAC-40 shed 0.5 percent to 4,454.16. Britain's FTSE 100 was unchanged at 6,285.11. The FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 both inched up 0.2 percent.

Japan said its economy grew 1.9 percent in the first quarter, rather than the 1.7 percent previously estimated. That reflected improved figures for corporate investment, though economists expect growth to weaken in the current quarter.

China reported exports and imports contracted again in May in a sign of weak global and domestic demand. Exports fell 4.1 percent from a year earlier compared with April's 1.8 percent decline. Imports shrank 0.4 percent to $131.1 billion, an improvement over the previous month's 10.9 percent fall and a better performance than forecasters expected. The weakness threatens to disrupt Beijing's efforts to lift the economy out of a slump, potentially requiring more stimulus that would set back efforts to reduce reliance on trade and investment.

"It does seem like the various financial markets are a little disjointed, as trades are somewhat odd," said Bernard Aw of IG in a report. He pointed to a slump in yields on German, Japanese and other sovereign bonds, which forces investors to buy riskier assets. "Global equities are firmer, but it is not indicative of an uptake in risk appetite," said Aw. "The up-move was mostly driven by higher oil prices."

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent to 2,927.16 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent to 21,297.88. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 percent to 16,830.92 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.8 percent to 2,027.08. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was nearly flat at 5,370.00 and India's Sensex added 0.1 percent to 27,033.17. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines gained while New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia declined.

The World Bank cut its forecast for this year's global economic growth to 2.4 percent from the 2.9 percent pace projected in January. It cited sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows. It said half the revision was prompted by the struggle of commodity-exporting economies to adapt to lower prices for oil and other key commodities.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 36 cents to $50.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 67 cents on Tuesday to close at $50.36. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 48 cents to $51.91 per barrel in London. It jumped 89 cents the previous session to $51.44.

The dollar declined to 107.11 yen from Tuesday's 107.31 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1371 from $1.1356.

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