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World stock markets steady after sell-off

BANGKOK - World stock markets steadied Tuesday after a sell-off the day before.

There was a dearth of corporate or economic news for traders to digest and an insipid performance on Wall Street gave little direction either.

Most indexes were flat or modestly higher after declining Monday on weak Chinese trade figures that reignited fears of a deeper slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.

In early European trading, Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 9,290.23. Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed, as was the CAC-40 in Paris. Wall Street futures also barely budged, with Dow futures at 16,414 and S&P 500 futures at 1,876.50.

"For the first time in some time, traders are choosing to focus much more intently on their local economies," said IG's chief market strategist Chris Weston in a report.

"Asia is focusing predominantly on Asian issues, while Europe keeps a closer watch on developments in the Ukraine, and the U.S. on the narrative from various Fed members."

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average added 0.7 percent to 15,224.11 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose less than 0.1 percent to 22,269.61. China's Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1 percent to 2,001.16. Markets were also higher in South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was up 25 cents at $101.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.46 to close at $101.12 a barrel Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3857 from $1.3879 late Monday. The dollar rose to 103.29 yen from 103.26 yen.

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