Most stock markets closed in Asia for holidays

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BANGKOK (AP) — Stock markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Seoul were among those closed Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday. Japanese markets were also shut for a public holiday.

European stocks were mostly higher in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.1 percent to 6,269.23. Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent to 7,638.18. France's CAC-40 added 0.2 percent to 3,655.13.

"While Europe's markets enjoyed a rebound on Friday the fact that they finished the week lower, having given up most of this year's gains, suggests that investor sentiment remains remarkably fragile despite some evidence of a recovery in German and Chinese economic activity last week," said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

Wall Street futures signaled gains ahead of the opening bell. Dow Jones industrial futures rose nearly 0.1 percent to 13,933 while S&P 500 futures gained 0.1 percent to 1,513.50.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 close 0.2 percent lower at 4,959.50, although a positive earnings report from retailer HB Hi-Fi Ltd. helped to limit losses and boost retail stocks. JB Hi-Fi surged 17.1 percent after reporting its first half net profit had risen 3 percent to 82 million Australian dollars ($84.6 million). David Jones rose 2.7 percent and Myer Holdings added 3.1 percent.

Key stock indexes in Thailand and New Zealand also fell. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam were closed for holidays.

Benchmark oil for March delivery fell 25 cents to $95.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 11 cents on the Nymex on Friday to close at $95.72 a barrel.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3371 from $1.3363 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 92.99 from 92.83 yen.

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