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​World markets remain choppy on bearish oil outlook

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MANILA, Philippines - Global stocks were mixed Thursday, and the price of oil was volatile after a report forecast slower global demand growth for crude.

The International Energy Agency expects global demand for oil to grow less than previously expected next year due to a weaker economy. The agency lowered its forecast for demand growth next year to 1.2 million barrels a day from 1.3 million barrels a day previously. That would be a slowdown from this year's growth of 1.4 million barrels daily.

At around 8 a.m. Eastern, Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.3 percent to 6,848 after a survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed house price growth was at its lowest in three years following Britain's vote to exit the European Union. France's CAC 40 was up 0.7 percent at 4,483, and Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent to 10,709.

U.S. futures augur a modestly higher opening on Wall Street, with futures for the Dow Jones industrials up 0.3 percent and S&P futures up 0.2 percent.

The report caused a sharp initial drop in the price of oil, which had eased in recent weeks, before a modest recovery. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 11 cents to $41.61 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oil, was up 8 cents to $44.13.

Earlier, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished 0.4 percent up at 22,581. China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5 percent to 3,003, and South Korea's KOSPI edged up 0.2 percent to 2,049. Japan's stock exchange was closed for a holiday.

"All eyes will now turn to Friday's retail sales figures from the U.S., which could provide the market with some direction," said Alex Furber, senior client services executive at CMC Markets. "Investors are currently weighing the low interest rate environment against high valuations."

New Zealand's central bank on Thursday cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a record low 2 percent, though some analysts had expected a larger cut.

In its projections, the bank predicted only modest future rate cuts when some had expected deeper cuts. The so-called kiwi dollar jumped by more than 1 percent after the announcement before easing a little to trade at $0.73.

In other currency markets, the dollar rose to 101.31 yen from 101.20 on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1148 from $1.1185.

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