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World stocks dulled by Greek bailout saga

TOKYO - Global stock markets were lackluster Wednesday as Greece's bailout woes dampened investor sentiment ahead of a European Central Bank meeting.

France's CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent to 4,999.71 while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 11,359.50. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.1 percent to 6,924.18. Wall Street was set to gain after a down day Tuesday: S&P 500 futures added 0.5 percent and Dow futures added 0.4 percent.

Concerns about Greece's ability to meet debt payments to its bailout creditors have weighed on markets. If Greece defaults on its debt, that may mean a departure from the euro zone. Greece's prime minister was set to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to discuss his proposal to secure a vital, long-overdue agreement with the country's bailout lenders. Separately, the European Central Bank meets later Wednesday.

Markets are closely watching for any "rhetoric" that comes out of the European Central Bank, although no change is expected to its new policy of quantitative monetary easing, Mizuho Bank said in a market commentary. "The expected pick-up in growth momentum also reduces the need for extended policy stimulus," Mizuho said. "Any rhetoric on Greece ... will also be scrutinized."

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225, which has been a stronger gainer in the past three months, edged down 0.3 percent to 20,473.51. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 2,063.16. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7 percent to 27,657.47 while the Shanghai Composite was little changed at 4,909.98. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent to 5,583.60.

Benchmark U.S. crude was down 54 cents to $60.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures contract rose $1.06 to close at $61.26 a barrel in Nymex floor trading on Tuesday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, was down 55 cents to $64.94 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 124.34 yen from 124.03 yen Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.1134 from $1.1152.

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