European markets cautious over Greece's debt plight, China books another big gain

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TOKYO — European shares mostly fell Tuesday as markets reopened after holidays in several countries, with concerns over Greece's debt crisis overshadowing upbeat news from China.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX sank 0.4 percent to 11,764.36 and France's CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent to 5,139.59. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent to 7,022.59. Wall Street was poised for a weak post-Memorial Day holiday start. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent while S&P 500 futures fell 0.2 percent.

EUROPEAN WOES: Worries persist that Greece might miss an IMF repayment on June 5 if it fails to receive bailout funds from creditors demanding it make new reforms to its economy. Talks to reach a deal resumed Tuesday after a weekend break, but it is unclear whether an agreement can be reached in time. Meanwhile, the weak showing in local elections of Spain's ruling Popular Party highlighted voter displeasure with the government's handling of the eight-year economic crisis and the country's 24 percent unemployment rate.

THE QUOTE: "There will be a couple of dominant themes with Greece developments remaining at the forefront while political developments in Spain also deserve some attention," market strategist Stan Shamu of IG said in commentary.

CORPORATE NEWS: Investor sentiment was supported somewhat by the news that Charter Communications will spend $55.33 billion to buy Time Warner Cable. The deal comes amid a wave of consolidation in the industry and only a month after Comcast walked away from a similar deal due to intense pressure from regulators.

CHINA BOOST: China's economic planning agency announced Monday that it wanted to attract private investment to more than 1,000 local public-private projects for ports and other transport facilities, the environment, and public services. Altogether, the projects could be worth 2 trillion yuan ($318 billion). The government also announced it would halve import taxes on clothing, cosmetics and some other goods by half in a new tactic to stimulate consumer spending and economic growth.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 20,437.48 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9 percent to 28,249.86. The Shanghai Composite rose 2 percent to 4,910.90; the index is up 141 percent over the past year. Australia's S&P ASX/200 climbed 0.9 percent to 5,773.40, but South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.1 percent to 2,143.50. Shares in New Zealand rose and Southeast Asian shares were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil fell 39 cents to $59.33 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed $1 on Friday to $59.72.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 122.58 yen from Monday's 121.55 yen. The euro fell to $1.0923 from $1.0980.

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