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World stock markets subdued as traders eye long weekend, mixed earnings in US

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LONDON — World stocks were subdued Thursday ahead of a long weekend for many markets and after mixed earnings reports in the U.S.

Though General Electric was upbeat and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley beat expectations, sentiment was still dented by weak reports from Google and IBM.

Supportive comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said the day before that the central bank would continue to provide stimulus for the job market, failed to boost markets much.

On Wall Street, the Dow lost 0.1 percent to 16,402.24 and the broader S&P 500 was flat at 1,862.56.

European markets fared better, with Britain's FTSE 100 closing 0.6 percent higher at 6,625.25. Germany's DAX advanced 1 percent to 9,409.71, and France's CAC 40 edged up 0.6 percent to 4,431.81.

Earlier, Asian stocks ended the day mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index recouped earlier losses to close unchanged at 14,362.94 after rising 3 percent on Wednesday.

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech that the bank would make adjustments as needed to its ultra-loose monetary policy, and he reiterated his confidence that the policy is having the desired effect of stimulating the economy, according to Kyodo news agency.

South Korea's Kospi also ended little changed at 1,992.05. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.3 percent to 22,760.24 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6 percent to 5,454.20. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 2,098.88.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil for May delivery was up 92 cents to $104.68.

In currencies, the dollar was steady around 102.20 yen while the euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.3833.

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