LONDON (AP) — Following an impressive session in Asia, markets in Europe drifted Thursday as traders were reluctant to stake out positions in the run-up to key U.S. payrolls data.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent at 6,806 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.1 percent to 5,068. Germany's DAX was down 0.1 percent at 11,995. U.S. stocks were poised for a similarly subdued opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.
US JOBS DATA LOOMING: The tepidness in the markets is a clear indication of unease ahead of job figures Friday that could have a bearing on expectations on when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates again. The monthly nonfarm payrolls figures often set the market tone for a week or two after their release. On Wednesday, slightly disappointing figures from ADP, the private payrolls firm, stoked some uncertainty over the official data, which have largely impressed over recent months. The consensus in the markets is that the Fed will start raising borrowing rates in either June or September.
ANALYST TAKE: "Further bad news should push the timing of a Fed rate hike back, and this will be good for stocks, but for the moment investors are fretting about the news and not thinking about the potentially beneficial implications," said Chris Beauchamp, Senior Market Analyst at IG.
ASIAN DATA: The mood during the focus in Asia earlier was perky as traders pondered the possibility of another Chinese stimulus following a run of weak economic data.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.5 percent to 19,312.79 and South Korea's Kospi was nearly flat at 2,029.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.8 percent to 25,275.64 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,898.60. Stocks in mainland China opened higher but lost grounds in late trading while Southeast Asia mostly gained.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.37 to $48.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.49 to close at $50.09 a barrel on Wednesday on signs that U.S. production growth is slowing. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $1.55 to $55.54 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro rose 0.6 percent to $1.0829 while the dollar was flat at 119.64 yen.