The Asian stock markets are looking at a flat lead on Thursday with more than a hint of caution heading into key central bank meetings in Europe, as well as U.S. employment data.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England will meet later today; the ECB is expected to cut interest rates, while the BOE may announce further stimulus measures.
The U.S. markets were closed on Wednesday for the July 4 holiday; they will re-open later today and see ADP employment data, which is the precursor for the non-farm payroll figures on Friday.
There was a mixed bag of economic data from Europe as Eurozone retail sales recovered unexpectedly in May on robust non-food sales, although the service sector in the euro area contracted less than initially estimated in June.
The European markets finished mixed but little changed on Wednesday as Switzerland's SMI ended 0.12 percent higher, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 eased 0.06 percent, the German DAX lost 0.20 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 0.11 percent.
The Asian markets were mostly higher on Wednesday as New Zealand surged 1.13 percent, while Indonesia spiked 0.64 percent, Japan's Nikkei jumped 0.41 percent, Malaysia added 0.37 percent, South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.35 percent, India added 0.21 percent, Singapore's Straits Times collected 0.12 percent and Taiwan gathered 0.05 percent.
Moving lower, China's Shanghai Composite eased 0.08 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.13 percent and Thailand lost 0.33 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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