Global stocks take breather after days of gains

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Global stocks turned lower on Wednesday, taking a breather after several days of gains pushed some indexes to record highs.

Though Asian markets mostly closed higher earlier, European and U.S. stocks slipped as investors took to the sidelines amid a dearth of economic indicators.

By midafternoon in Europe, France's CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent at 4,518.83 while Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent to 9,910.60. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 6,842.72.

On Wall Street, the Dow was 0.2 percent lower at 16,647.41 while the S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent to 1,910.08. It closed above the 1,900 level for the first time last week.

Investors have been encouraged in recent days by strong U.S. economic indicators. This week, a government report showed orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose unexpectedly in April, powered by a surge in demand for military aircraft.

Also, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose in May to the second-highest level since January 2008, just after the start of the Great Recession.

"The ongoing economic recovery is confirmed. Consumer confidence matched expectations," said Mizuho Bank in a report.

In Asia, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent to 2,050.23 and Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to 14,670.95.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.6 percent to 23,080.03 and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.3 percent to 5,527.20.

In energy markets, benchmark crude for July delivery was down 50 cents to $103.61 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currencies, the euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.3599 while the dollar dropped 0.2 percent to 101.77 yen.