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World markets mixed after Wall Street slips

PARIS - PARIS (AP) — European stock markets were mixed during sluggish year-end trading Wednesday after Wall Street snapped a six-day advance overnight and Asian markets fluctuated.

In Europe, the FTSE-100 index of leading British shares held its last full session of the year, inching up 0.5 percent to 5,429.22. In France, the CAC 40 retreated from its 2009 high reached Tuesday, slipping 0.2 percent to 3,953.58 while in Germany, the DAX slid 0.3 percent to 5,994.71.

European markets shrugged off reports of improved home prices and consumer confidence reports in the U.S. overnight, and the strengthening dollar weighed on commodities. Futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street.

Earlier, Asian markets fluctuated, with Japan's benchmark flat as shares of Japan Airlines plummeted amid fears the beleaguered carrier could end up in bankruptcy proceedings as part of a turnaround plan.

Stocks in Asia and other fast-growing regions have risen massively in 2009 and investors are reluctant to take on more risk.

"Markets have ... shot up too much, and there's a reluctance to invest any more," said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average fell 91.62 points, or 0.9 percent, to 10,546.44, with shares of JAL tumbling 32 percent at one point to a new low. Its stock closed down 24 pct.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat, off 2.82 points to 21,496.62

In the U.S. Tuesday, markets were underwhelmed by news a key gauge of consumer confidence rose to 52.9 in December from 49.5 in November.

Though slightly above some forecasts, the report contained troubling details showing debt-saddled American consumers were still unwilling to spend on big-ticket items like cars and appliances, said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist for SJS Markets in Hong Kong.

Oil prices were slightly higher in Asia, with benchmark crude for February delivery up 9 cents to $78.96 a barrel. The contract added 10 cents to settle at $78.87 on Tuesday.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 92.06 yen from 92.02 yen. The euro was lower at $1.4350 from $1.4355.


AP Business Writer Jeremiah Marquez contributed to this report.


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