Global stocks mixed after weak China data

SEOUL: Global stock markets were mixed on Friday with European markets off to a positive start after some Asian markets closed lower on disappointing trade data from China.

The US dollar resumed its fall after a brief gain.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent to 7,318.35 while France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 4,889.20. Germany's DAX advanced 0.4 percent to 11,565.87. Futures showed US markets headed for a lackluster start. Dow futures inched up 0.1 percent while S&P futures also added 0.1 percent.

CHINA TRADE: Customs data showed that Chinese exports sank 6.1 percent in December from a year earlier. In November, China's exports eked out a 0.1 percent expansion after shrinking for nine straight months. Imports rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

ANALYST TAKE: "The slowdown is disappointing given signs from recent business surveys, and from Korea and Taiwan's export data, that global demand continued to strengthen in December," Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a research note.

The upshot is that while China's trade performance has improved somewhat over the past year, the lack of a more substantial recovery (particularly in exports) is concerning," he said.

SAMSUNG: South Korea's Samsung Electronics fell 3.5 percent, its first drop in about a week, pulling the benchmark Kospi lower. The share price of the world's largest maker of memory chips and smartphones had hit new highs in recent weeks, driven by expectations of strong earnings from its semiconductor business.

Prosecutors investigating the influence-peddling scandal that prompted the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye have named Lee Jae-yong, Samsung vice chairman, a bribery suspect in the political scandal.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.8 percent to 19,287.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.5 percent to 22,937.38. But China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent to 3,112.76 and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 2,076.79.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slumped 0.8 percent to 5,721.10. Shares gained in Singapore and Indonesia but fell in Taiwan and the Philippines.

OIL: Benchmark crude oil fell 11 cents to $52.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $53.01 a barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, lost 20 cents to $55.81 per barrel.