! PARIS , Rabi'I 7, 1435, Jan 8, 2014 , SPA -- World stock markets struggled to find direction Wednesday despite mostly encouraging economic data from the U.S. and eurozone, AP reported. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said retail sales in the eurozone jumped 1.4 percent in November, far more than expected, while the unemployment rate held steady at 12.1 percent for the eighth month running. Although the figures suggest the eurozone recovery might pick up, the bloc still faces big problems - the unemployment rate is at a record high and there are huge disparities across the region. By late morning in Europe , France's CAC-40 was down 0.3 percent 4,251, while the DAX in Germany dropped 0.2 percent 9,491. Britain's FTSE index fell 0.3 percent to 6,736. The euro fell slightly to $1.3588 , although that price is still quite high. Asian stocks mostly rose. Asian traders tend to be very sensitive to the U.S. economy, and there are signs that it's picking up steam. A decline in the U.S. trade deficit for November, which was partly due to increased domestic oil production, has raised expectations that fourth quarter economic growth will be higher than 3 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 1.9 percent, closing at 16,121.45 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3 percent to 22,996.59. Benchmarks in India , Southeast Asia and Taiwan also rose. China's Shanghai Composite lost early gains, closing 0.2 percent lower at 2,044.34. --SPA 14:34 LOCAL TIME 11:34 GMT All Rights Reversed for Saudi Press Agency Provided by Syndigate.info , an Albawaba.com company
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