• Stocks mixed as Wall Street seen edging higher

    By: JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

    BEIJING (AP) - Stock markets slipped in Europe on Friday, but Wall Street was expected to rise on the open and Asian indexes closed higher.

    KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX index edged almost 0.1 percent lower to 12,458 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.2 percent to 5,299. London's FTSE 100 was off 0.1 percent at 7,243. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.4 percent and that for the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent.

    ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 3,289.02 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7 percent to 21,892.78. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent to 31,267.17 and Seoul's Kospi rose 1.5 percent to 2,451.52. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 climbed 0.8 percent to 5,999.80 and India's Sensex was up 0.8 percent at 34,099.90. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also gained.

    ANALYST'S TAKE: "While we remain of the view that the pullback in share markets this month is a correction as opposed to the start of a new bear market, it remains premature to conclude that its over as it will take a while for markets to adjust to higher inflation, a more aggressive Fed and higher bond yields," said Shane Oliver of AMP Capital in a report.

    CHINA INSURANCE: Prosecutors announced the founder of one of China's biggest insurers, who had discussed possibly investing in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, has been charged with financial offenses. Regulators took control of his company. Anbang Insurance Group chairman Wu Xiaohui is charged with improper fundraising and "taking others' money." Government announcements gave no indication the charges are linked to Wu's talks with Jared Kushner's family, which ended last March with no deal.

    JAPAN INFLATION: Japanese inflation edged up but stayed well below the central bank's target. The headline measure of consumer prices rose 1.4 percent in January, up from the previous month's 1 percent and its highest level in 3½ years. The central bank's measure of core inflation, which strips out energy and fresh food, advanced to 0.4 percent from December's 0.3 percent. "The upshot is that the Bank of Japan's 2 percent inflation target remains out of reach," said Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics in a report.

    RBS: Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland were down 4 percent after it reported its first annual profit in a decade, but warned that 2018's earnings could be weighed by a settlement with U.S. authorities. RBS is still majority-owned by U.K. taxpayers and it has struggled to recover from the deep losses incurred during the financial crisis.

    ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $62.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.09 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 35 cents to $66.04. It jumped 97 cents the previous session.

    CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 106.81 yen from Thursday's 106.75 yen. The euro edged down to $1.2308 from $1.2330.

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