Inflation readings eyed
-- Oil prices up ahead of OPEC meeting
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-- Tech stocks drop in Asia
Global stocks were poised to end the month on a subdued note as a selloff in U.S. technology companies rippled overseas.
The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat in morning trading after steep losses in Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korea. Technology companies led declines in Europe and Asia after the S&P 500 tech sector posted its biggest daily fall since June.
A decline in large U.K. companies also weighed down European bourses. The FTSE 100 was off 0.3% after its worst day in a month, hurt by a recent climb in the British pound which means revenues for multinationals are worth less when translated back into local currency. The pound was last up 0.4% at $1.3467 after settling at a two-month high on Wednesday.
Eurozone consumer prices are due later Thursday and will be closely watched by the European Central Bank, with economists expecting the annual rate of inflation to edge up to 1.5% from 1.4% in October. The U.S. Commerce Department also releases inflation data for October later in the day.
In commodities, Brent crude oil was last up 0.4% at $62.77 a barrel ahead of a meeting of major producers later in the day. Traders have been trying to gauge whether producers will come through on an expected deal to continue curbing output through the end of next year.
Saudi Arabia has spoken out strongly in favor of extending the cuts past the current expiration, while Russia's energy minister said the agreement should be extended but declined to say for how long.
In Asian trading, a decline in technology stocks continued Thursday, as Asian chip shares fell after a setback for U.S. tech shares.
The tech-heavy Taiex benchmark in Taiwan fell 1.4%, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. off 3.6%. In South Korea, the Kospi was down 1.5% amid a 3.4% decline in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics. The two stocks have slumped 7.4% and 8.4% respectively this week.
Morgan Stanley on Monday dropped its bullish rating on both firms amid broader concerns about the state of the industry, particularly the memory-chip segment.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.4%, with internet heavyweight Tencent down a further 2.7%. A fall in insurance companies also weighed down the index.
In Australia, the launch of a judicial inquiry into its financial industry sent shares of the country's big banks sliding early before they recovered partially. The S&P/ASX 200 finished down 0.7%.
The probe "will be costly, take a lot of time and lead to unknown outcomes given the broad scope," noted Omkar Joshi, portfolio manager at Regal Funds Management.
Stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen were mostly lower with investors unimpressed by a Chinese manufacturing reading for November that came in stronger than expected.
Japan's benchmark staged an afternoon rally to rise 0.6%.
Stephanie Yang and
contributed to this article.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 30, 2017 04:03 ET (09:03 GMT)