Rebound in Europe lifts some, but not all markets

PARIS (AP) — Data showing that the economies of the countries that use the euro were out of recession gave a jolt to European stocks Wednesday, but the good news wasn’t enough to drive global shares.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, said the eurozone posted its first growth in the second quarter of the year since it entered recession in late 2011. The economies of the 17 EU countries grew by 0.3 percent in the April to June period from the previous quarter.

Much of that rebound was led by the region’s two largest economies: Germany, whose gross domestic product grew 0.7 percent, and France, which came in with the unexpectedly high jump of 0.5 percent.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent to 8,420, while the CAC-40 in France was up 0.2 percent at 4,103. Britain’s FTSE index broke the trend, however, and moved slightly down, by 0.2 percent, to 6,600.

Wall Street futures waned, with Dow Jones industrial futures heading 0.3 percent lower to 15,372, while S&P 500 futures fell by the same rate to 1,686.

“Much anticipation was built up yesterday in the hope that economic figures from Germany and France would prove to show signs of health in the eurozone’s strongest pillars. And that has proved to be the case,” said Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst with IG. “However, it is better to travel than to arrive, hence the somewhat muted reaction in continental markets.”

Also, many of Europe’s smaller economies remain bogged down by high levels of debt and unemployment that will take years to reduce.

Asian stock markets mostly drifted after U.S. retail sales data added to expectations the Federal Reserve will start scaling back its monetary stimulus this year.

The U.S. government said retail sales edged up in July by 0.2 percent, slightly less than expected. But core sales — a category that excludes autos, gas and building supplies — reached the highest level in seven months.

Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The figures could have an impact on expectations of when the Fed will start to reduce its monetary stimulus. Most economists think that so-called tapering will start as soon as next month.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3 percent to close at 14,050.16. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.6 percent to 1,923.91. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was nearly unchanged at 5,157.40.

Mainland Chinese shares fell. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent to 2,100.14, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index fell 0.2 percent to 1,012.80.

Hong Kong’s stock exchange was closed for the day as Typhoon Utor lashed the Asian financial center with wind and rain.

Benchmark oil for September delivery was down 55 cents to $106.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currencies, the euro was flat at $1.3260.

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Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this story. Follow Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson

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