Asian stock trading cautious ahead of official US jobs figures, European central bank meeting

Asian stock markets were lackluster Thursday as traders turned cautious ahead of a U.S. jobs report and the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

Thursday's wait-and-see trading followed a rally the previous day after China and the U.S., the world's two biggest economies, reported growth in manufacturing.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 0.2 percent to 15,340.75 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent lower to 25,521.36. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.3 percent to 2,019.84.

The Taiex in Taiwan gained 0.5 percent to 9,530.05 and China's Shanghai Composite was trading up 0.1 percent to 2,158.59, continuing momentum from a positive China manufacturing report.

In India, the Bombay Stock Exchange halted all trading early Thursday due to a network outage. It said trading would resume once the glitch was resolved.

The U.S. government's nonfarm payrolls figures for June will be released later Thursday. Economists have forecast that employers added 215,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Anticipation of a positive U.S. jobs report pushed Wall Street indexes to fresh highs on Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.1 percent to 1,974.62. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.1 percent to 16,976.24. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow are at all-time highs. The Nasdaq composite fell less than 0.1 percent, to 4,457.73.

The European Central Bank is also scheduled to meet later Thursday. The bank is not expected to announce any major moves after further easing monetary policy last month, but investors will be looking to ECB President Mario Draghi's speech for clues about how the bank may act in future.

"European markets should find modest support on open, although it promises to be an action -packed day" particularly in the U.S., Chris Weston, strategist for IG, said in market commentary.

In Europe on Wednesday, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent to close at 6,816.37 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.4 percent to 4,444.72. Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 9,911.27.

In energy markets, the price of crude oil dropped 39 cents to $104.09 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 86 cents to $104.48 on Wednesday.

The euro dropped to $1.3650 from $1.3657 late Wednesday. The dollar rose to 101.89 yen from 101.79 yen.