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Global stocks waver as China remains key focal point

LONDON - European stock markets slipped Tuesday after a lackluster session in Asia failed to ignite much buying impetus with traders around the world still digesting figures confirming a slowdown in Chinese economic growth. Oil prices steadied following a big retreat the previous session.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.4 percent at 6,329 while Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent to 10,117. The CAC-40 in France was 0.9 percent lower at 4,660.

Wall Street was poised for losses at the open with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures 0.2 percent lower.

Monday's official data showing that Chinese economic growth in the July-September quarter decelerated to 6.9 percent, its lowest level since early 2009, remains a key driver in markets. Though the easing in growth from the previous quarter's 7.0 percent rate was less than anticipated, concerns over the outlook for the world's number 2 economy remain.

"As far as markets are concerned the Chinese GDP number is more like one of those cars you get in a second car showroom which has been buffed up to look nice, but when you take out for a run doesn't run anywhere near as good as it looks," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

Despite concerns over the reliability of the Chinese figures, some traders think it may have an impact on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates in December for the first time in more than nine years. One of the reasons it held off in September was mounting concern over China. The Fed has its next policy meeting next week. Though a hike is not expected, traders will be monitoring the commentary that follows and whether a December hike will be signposted. Super-low rates have been a boon for stock markets for several years.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1 percent to 3,425.33 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 percent to 18,207.15. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.4 percent to 22,989.22 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,039.36. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.6 percent to 5,235.60 and India's Sensex retreated 0.1 percent to 27,340.62.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 4 cents to $45.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a day after plunging $1.44. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 16 cents to $48.45 in London, following its $1.85 retreat in the previous session.

The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.1380 while the dollar was up 0.1 percent at 119.67 yen.

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