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May 24, 6:16 AM EDT

Global shares mixed; China stocks dip after rating cut


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BEIJING (AP) -- Shares fell in early trading in Europe but were mostly higher in Asia on Wednesday after Wall Street's advance. Chinese stocks dipped after Moody's cut Beijing's debt rating but rebounded to end the day unchanged.

KEEPING SCORE: London's FTSE-100 gained 0.2 percent to 7,503.34. Germany's DAX was slipped 0.1 percent to 12,645.39 and France's CAC-40 held steady at 5,346.45. On Tuesday, the CAC-40 rose 0.5 percent while the DAX and the FTSE-100 index added 0.2 percent. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor's 500 index were up less than 0.1 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index gained less than 0.1 percent to 3,064.08 after dropping by 0.6 percent at midday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended little-changed at 25,428.50. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to 19,742.98 and Seoul's Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,317.34. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.2 percent to 5,769.00 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand also rose. India's Sensex shed 0.2 percent to 30,301.64.

CHINESE DEBT: Moody's cut the Chinese government's rating for long-term local currency and foreign currency debt, citing China's overall rising debt. Moody's cut the rating to a still relatively robust A1 from Aa3 and changed its outlook to stable from negative. That reflects an expectation "China's financial strength will erode somewhat" and economy-wide debt will rise, Moody's said. The Chinese finance ministry criticized the move and said Moody's overestimated the difficulties facing the economy while failing to give adequate weight to economic reforms under way.

ANALYST'S TAKE: The China downgrade could "deal a blow to confidence in regional markets," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. "While the downgrade itself had not been regarded as a plunging drop in rating, the attention on China's worsening outlook could create jitters."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $51.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 34 cents on Tuesday to $51.47. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 20 cents to $54.35 in London. It added 28 cents the previous session.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.81 yen from Tuesday's 111.77 yen. The euro was flat at $1.1182.

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