LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets fell Wednesday as investors worried about global growth in the run-up to a series of U.S. indicators that will provide further insights into the state of the world's largest economy.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 index was off 1.3 percent at 6,108.51 while France's CAC 40 was off 0.8 percent at 4,338.03. Germany's DAX was 0.8 percent lower at 9,849.00. Wall Street looked set for falls, with Dow futures and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures down 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
US DATA: Investors will be watching the report by private payrolls operator ADP for hints on the strength of the U.S. jobs market ahead of the official monthly jobs report on Friday. Economists expect a rise of about 200,000 in April. A separate report on activity on the U.S. services sector will also be closely watched for any impact of global uncertainty on the world's largest economy, which saw growth slow in the first quarter of 2016.
GLOBAL OUTLOOK: Economic indicators out of Europe were disappointing on Wednesday, with retail sales falling 0.5 percent during March from the previous month. That was weaker than market expectations for a more modest fall of 0.1 percent. Separately, financial information company Markit said its purchasing managers' index for the region — a gauge of business activity — fell modestly to 53 points in April from 53.1 the previous month. Though still above the 50 threshold indicating expansion, the reading has fallen from the start of the year.
The news comes on top of a survey Tuesday showing manufacturing activity in China weakened in April despite government efforts to stimulate the slowing economy.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The wind in the sails of a global stock rally seems to have lessened lately," Bernard Aw of IG said in a report. "Technical traders might say that some correction is necessary for the rally to continue, but I feel that the underlying factors are beginning to turn its tail."
ASIA'S DAY: Earlier, Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.5 percent to 5,271.10 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.7 percent to 20,525.83. Seoul's Kospi shed 0.5 percent to 1,976.71 and India's Sensex retreated 0.3 percent to 25,156.02. The Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 2,991.27 while Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 14 cents to $43.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.13 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 15 cents at $45.12 in London. It tumbled 86 cents on Tuesday.
CURRENCY: The dollar dipped to 106.63 yen from Tuesday's 106.68 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1503 from $1.1499.