MUMBAI, India (AP) — Global stock markets drifted lower Wednesday as investors awaited confirmation of new stimulus from the European Central Bank and a crucial U.S. jobs report.
In early European trading, Germany's DAX shed 0.3 percent to 9,890.55 and France's CAC 40 was down 0.6 percent to 4,478.19. London's FTSE 100 slipped 0.4 percent to 6,811.71.
Futures indicated another day of muted trading on Wall Street after hitting record highs earlier in the week. Dow futures slipped 0.1 percent to 16,704.00 and S&P 500 futures were down 0.2 percent to 1,918.
Investors have largely been in wait-and-see mode this week amid expectations of stronger employment growth in the U.S. and an interest rate cut along with other measures for the 18-country eurozone economy. Figures earlier this week showed that inflation in the eurozone fell to 0.5 percent in May, below the 2 percent target and suggesting chronically weak demand.
"With inflation trending down faster than anticipated, the risks of a potential deflationary situation are hard to dismiss," DBS Group said in research report.
Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2 percent to 15,067.96 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.6 percent to 23,151.71. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.7 percent to 2,024.83 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6 percent to 5,444.80.
Markets in Southeast Asia and India were also down while South Korean markets were closed for regional elections.
The U.S. payrolls report due Friday is expected to show the American economy added 220,000 jobs in May, according to a survey of analysts by financial data provider FactSet.
"The market certainly seems to be pricing in a strong set of data from the U.S. this week, which puts risk assets in an interesting position," said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery was up 55 cents to $103.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 19 cents to close Tuesday $102.66.
The euro slipped to $1.3603 from $1.3620 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 102.62 yen from 102.54 yen.