World markets sluggish after banner week

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By SARAH DiLORENZO, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — World stock markets pulled back Monday after a banner week fueled by hopes that the U.S. economic recovery is back on track and receding worries about Europe's debt crisis.

Questions about whether Greece would default on its massive debts have been the main driver for markets in recent months. Now that Greece has secured it second bailout and secured a bond swap, uncertainty has receded and stocks have recovered.

A series of upbeat jobs reports in the world's largest economy also fueled the rally.

On Monday, however, investor enthusiasm pulled back.

In Europe, the CAC-40 in France fell 0.7 percent to 3,568, while Germany's DAX was down the same rate to 7,109. The FTSE index of leading British shares pulled back 0.4 percent to 5,940.

The euro was trading fairly even at $1.3167.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1 percent to 21,115.29. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia fell.

Other Asian indexes finished slightly up. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.1 percent higher at 10,141.99.

In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 2,410.18. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.1 percent to 993.75.

"The market still feels like it's in a consolidation mode and is uneasy about it," said Lauren Rosborough, an analyst with Societe Generale.

She noted that investors seem to be in a wait-and-see mode before the start of U.S. earnings season. Apple is planning an announcement later in the day on what it plans to do with its $100bn cash pile. There's speculation the technology group could announce a dividend, which would likely give a boost to stocks.

Also weighing on markets have been sky-high oil prices. With the global economic recovery still fragile, some have worried that high energy prices would hold back any rebound.

But benchmark oil for May delivery fell back some Monday, falling 40 cents to $106.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.95 to finish at $107.06 per barrel on Friday.

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Associated Press Business Writer Pamela Sampson contributed to this report from Bangkok.

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