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​Global stocks waver ahead of U.S. retail sales data

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TOKYO - Global stocks wavered Friday as investors looked to see if the three major U.S. indexes can add to their record close as well as upcoming retail sales figures.

The DAX index in Germany fell 0.2 percent to 10,723 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent to 4,500. Britain's FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 percent to 6,917.

Wall Street looked set for a quiet open a day after the three main indexes all closed at a record high on the same day, something that hasn't happened since 1999. Ahead of the open, the S&P and Dow futures were flat.

The German economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent in the April-June period, a slowdown from the first quarter but better than expected. That helped offset a weaker performance in Italy, whose economy did not grow at all. Overall eurozone growth was confirmed from a preliminary estimate of 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Investors will monitor the release of a report on retail sales in the U.S., which is expected to show monthly growth of 0.4 percent in July. That would suggest a continued pickup in consumer spending -- a key component to growth in the world's largest economy -- after a weak start to the year.

A Chinese official sought to reassure companies and investors that the growth in the world's second-largest economy is stable after the government reported retail sales rose 10.2 percent in July from a year earlier, down from June's 10.6 percent growth. Factory output rose 6 percent in July over a year ago, down from 6.2 percent in June. Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics said the weakness was due partly to one-time factors including summer flooding that caused 200 billion yuan ($35 billion) in losses.

"The trend is good," China's statistics bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyun told a news conference. "Even though economic growth dropped slightly, the economy is stable and making steady progress, and the steady trend toward improvement has not changed."

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 1.1 percent to 16,919.92 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8 percent to 22,766.91. The Shanghai Composite index added 1.6 percent to 3,050.67 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent to 5,530.90. India's Sensex gained 1 percent to 28,147.57 and markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 6 cents to $43.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.78, or 4.3 percent, to close at $43.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell back, losing 16 cents to $45.88 a barrel. It gained $1.99, or 4.3 percent, to close at $46.04 a barrel in London.

The dollar strengthened to 102.04 yen from 101.86 on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1157 from $1.1137.

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