International markets roundup
Market watch top headlines
A roundup of trading on major world markets:
NEW YORK - US stocks opened lower after weak reports on US jobs and European business activity.
Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 23.80 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 13,903.74.
The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 6.51 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 1,505.44.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.04 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 3,150.37.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 362,000 in the week ending February 16, more than the analyst estimate of 358,000.
LONDON - European stock markets have joined a global sell-off over concern about a possible end to US stimulus measures and as data showed slumping business activity across the eurozone, with London coming sharply off five-year highs.
Shares in banks led indices lower on Thursday, overshadowing upbeat company news across other sectors.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies fell 1.62 per cent to 6,291.54 points, a day after surpassing 6,400 for the first time in more than five years on the prospect of more cash stimulus from the Bank of England.
Meanwhile in Frankfurt the DAX 30 shed 1.88 per cent to 7,583.57 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 dropped 2.29 per cent to 3,624.80 points
Milan dived 3.13 per cent to 16,010 points, also hit by concerns over the outcome of upcoming legislative elections in Italy, traders said.
The euro fell to $US1.3206 from $US1.3283 late in New York on Wednesday.
HONG KONG - Asian markets suffered a heavy sell-off following a tumble on Wall Street as traders grow concerned the US Federal Reserve could bring an early end to its huge stimulus program.
Minutes from the Fed's most recent policy board meeting showed some members in favour of cutting short the $US85 billion ($A83.37 billion)-a-month bond-buying introduced last year to support the economy and which has helped lift global shares.
Tokyo fell 1.39 per cent, or 159.15 points, to 11,309.13 and Sydney slid 2.33 per cent, or 118.6 points, to 4,980.1, its worst day so far for 2013 and biggest fall since May.
Seoul was off 0.47 per cent, or 9.42 points, at 2,015.22.
Shanghai tumbled 2.97 per cent, or 71.23 points, to 2,325.95, while Hong Kong slipped 1.72 per cent, or 400.74 points, to 22,906.67.
WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 fell 43.81 points, or 1 per cent, to 4170.4, the lowest close since January 18.