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World stocks mostly higher after Putin seems to tone down Ukraine rhetoric, Wall Street rises

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TOKYO - Global stock markets mostly rose Friday, cheered by the prospect of more gains on Wall Street and a sense that Ukraine tensions are easing.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.7 per cent to 4,234.60. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.8 per cent to 6,735.47 and Germany's DAX rose 0.8 per cent to 9,295.38. Futures augured gains on Wall Street. Dow futures rose 0.3 per cent to 16,731 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.3 per cent to 1,958.40.

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.6 per cent to 24,954.94 and China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.9 per cent to 2,226.73. Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed at 15,318.34 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent to 5,566.52. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday and trading was subdued in Japan because of the Obon holidays, during which major companies slumber.

EASING TENSIONS: Sentiment was helped by Russia's President Vladimir Putin appearing to tone down his rhetoric on situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are waging an insurgency in Ukraine's east. In addressing hundreds of lawmakers Thursday in the Black Sea resort of Yalta in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in March, he said Russia's goal was "to stop bloodshed in Ukraine as soon as possible."

ANALYST TAKE: Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said that investors were shrugging off an unexpected increase in U.S. unemployment claims but were encouraged by what was being seen as Russia's "more conciliatory tone" over Ukraine. The U.S. Labor Department said more people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, with applications climbing 21,000 to 311,000.

SMART SONY: Sony Corp. stock rose 2.1 per cent after a report in Japan's major business daily, the Nikkei, that the struggling electronics and entertainment company will venture into camera-sensors for vehicles. It is a potentially lucrative business as automakers push smart cars that can park themselves and connect to the Internet.

ENERGY: The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract was up down 8 cents to $95.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.3379 from $1.3363. The dollar rose to 102.59 yen from 102.48 yen late Thursday.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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