LONDON: Stock markets largely steadied Tuesday while oil prices fell on easing geopolitical concerns surrounding major crude producers Iran and Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced Russia's Vladimir Putin not to escalate the crisis around Ukraine, ahead of talks in Kyiv aimed at defusing fears Moscow could invade.
Elsewhere, talks to revive a deal with Iran on its contested nuclear programme were set to resume Tuesday after Washington and Tehran signalled their willingness to clinch an agreement as soon as possible.
Edward Moya, analyst at trading group OANDA, said signs of progress in US-Iran nuclear talks -- which could see Tehran sell internationally again -- would likely not have much long-term impact on the oil price rally towards $100 per barrel.
"Energy traders locked in some profits over optimism that the US and Iran might be able to salvage a nuclear deal," he said.
"The oil market still remains heavily in deficit and whatever weakness happens to prices will likely be short-lived."
Surging oil prices -- Brent crude hit the highest level for more than seven years at $94 per barrel on Monday -- saw BP swing back into a big profit last year, the British energy giant announced.
The expected turnaround -- after huge losses in 2020 as the pandemic slammed oil prices -- saw BP's share price rise only modestly in London midday deals Tuesday.
The big corporate story out of Asia was SoftBank's announcement that the $40 billion sale of chip powerhouse Arm to Nvidia had collapsed because of "significant regulatory challenges" over competition concerns.
Alongside the news, the Japanese telecoms firm-turned-investment giant reported a net profit of $251 million in the third quarter.
In Europe, the EU unveiled a 43-billion-euro plan to quadruple the supply of semiconductors in the region by 2030, hoping to limit the bloc's dependence on Asia for a key component used in electric cars and smartphones.
Stock markets in London and Paris were up while Frankfurt was down at around midday as traders await key US inflation data Thursday that is tipped to show more painful price rises in January after a four-decade high in December.
Investors are bracing for central banks to raise interest rates to tame inflation, a move that could weigh down on the global economic recovery.
Key figures around 1200 GMT
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,578.62 points
Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.1 percent at 15,185.20
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 7,021.25
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 4,115.71
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 27,284.52 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.0 percent at 24,329.49 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,452.63 (close)
New York - Dow: FLAT at 35,091.13 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1432 from $1.1440 late Monday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3562 from $1.3532
Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.30 pence from 84.51 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 115.30 from 115.10 yen
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.9 percent at $90.95 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.8 percent at $89.64 per barrel