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Asia Stocks Fall On Fed Doubts Over Bond Buying

By JOE McDONALD

BEIJING (AP) â¿¿ World stocks mostly rebounded Friday from two days of doldrums sparked by fears the Federal Reserve would withdraw monetary stimulus. European markets were helped by a better-than-expected German business confidence survey.

The Asian heavyweight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index, opened down but recovered to gain 0.7 percent to 11,385.94. In the region's biggest economy, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to 2,314.15.

In Europe, France's CAC-40 was up 1.3 percent at 3,670.74 and Germany's DAX gained 0.7 percent to 7,63.71. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.8 percent to 6,344.30. Sentiment was helped by Germany's IFO business survey that further eased fears of recession in Europe's biggest economy.

Wall Street was set to gain. Dow futures added 0.3 percent to 13,906 and S&P 500 futures rose 0.4 percent to 1,506.70.

In Asia, Seoul's Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,018.89. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 22,782.44 and Taipei's Taiex lost 0.1 percent to 7,947.72. Australia's ASX/S&P 200 added 0.8 percent to 5,018.10.

World markets had been rattled by Wednesday's release of notes from the Fed's last policy meeting that suggested some policymakers were worried about the cost of its monetary stimulus. That sparked concern the Fed might wind down asset purchases, though some analysts suggested such fears were overblown.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose 20,000 last week to 362,000 but said longer-term, the job market appears to be improving.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 43 cents to $93.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.24, or 2.4 percent, to $92.98 on Thursday, the second drop of 2 percent in two days.

In currency markets, the dollar rose to 93.39 yen from 93.26 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.323.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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