World stocks muted as Dow
flirts with record

World stock markets were mixed Wednesday, a day after strong U.S. corporate earnings sent the Dow close to its record high. Japanese shares faltered as the yen rebounded against the dollar.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index tumbled as the yen strengthened against the dollar following a pledge by finance ministers from the world's major advanced economies to refrain from intentionally weakening their currencies. The Nikkei 225 dropped 1 percent to close at 11,251.41.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,321.38. Germany's DAX rose marginally to 7,664.29. France's CAC-40 fell 0.2 percent to 3,680.58. Wall Street appeared headed for a higher open, with Dow Jones Industrial futures rising 0.1 percent to 13,982. S&P 500 futures rose 0.1 percent to 1,517.30.

Australian stocks closed at their highest level since September 2008. The S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9 percent to 5,003.70 after the release of strong earnings from Commonwealth Bank of Australia and construction company Leighton Holdings.

South Korea's Kospi advanced 1.6 percent to 1,976.07. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines also rose.

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