BANGKOK (AP) -- World stock markets were mostly lower Monday as investors shifted their focus from Europe's debt woes to the strength of the U.S. economy. Japan sold the yen to limit its export-sapping strength. Benchmark oil for December delivery slipped below $93 per barrel and the dollar strengthened against the euro and the yen.
European shares sank in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.8 percent to 5,655.77 and Germany's DAX fell 1 percent to 6,285.53. France's CAC-40 slid 1.4 percent to 3,302.24. Wall Street also appeared set for a lower opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures 0.7 percent lower at 12,081 and S&P 500 futures down 0.8 percent at 1,270.10. Asia set the tone for a day of muted trading. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.7 percent to 19,864.87 and South Korea's Kospi fell 1.1 percent to 1,909.03. Benchmarks in Australia, Singapore and Taiwan also posted losses.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo swung between positive and negative territory after Japan intervened to weaken its currency, which had earlier hit a new post World War II high against the greenback. The Nikkei closed 0.7 percent lower at 8,988.39.
The strong yen has dented earnings of Japanese corporations such as Nintendo Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. and hurt the economy's recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Finance Minister Jun Azumi said monetary authorities could continue intervening.
The dollar surged about 5 percent to above 79 yen, and Japan's export sector -- whose fortunes are largely tied to the relative strength of the yen -- rose abruptly. Isuzu Motors Corp. jumped 3.7 percent. Canon Inc. rose 1 percent and Nikon Corp. added 1.8 percent. Nintendo Co. gained 1.5 percent. In Sydney, shares of Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. jumped 4.3 percent after a court ordered employees of the world's 10th-largest airlines back to work. The airline had grounded its entire fleet on Saturday following weeks of strikes by its workers, but an arbitration court on Sunday ordered an end to the strikes and canceled the staff lockout. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index snapped a five-session winning streak by falling 0.2 percent to 2,468.25, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.5 percent to 1,040.93. "Some real estate shares dropped this morning after Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed property sales controls would not be eased, but some bigger developers gained since as it could be a good chance for them to beat the competition," said Hu Yi, an analyst at China Jianyin Investment Securities. Poly Real Estate, China's second-largest listed property developer, gained 1.4 percent, while China Vanke, the industry leader, gained 1.1 percent.