Global Shares Fall on Thursday

TOKYO (AP) -- Shares retreated in Europe and Asia on Thursday, with Chinese benchmarks down sharply as the central bank signaled it would opt for caution on stimulus measures.

France's CAC 40 fell 0.2% in early trading to 5,562.72. Germany's DAX slipped nearly 0.2% to 12,291.96, while Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.5% to 7,438.19.

U.S. shares were set to meander with Dow futures slipping 0.1% to 26,511. S&P 500 futures edged 0.6 points higher to 2,929.90.

The Shanghai Composite index lost 2.4% to 3,123.83, while in the smaller bourse in Shenzhen, the benchmark sank 3.4%.

Investors in China appeared discouraged by signs the central bank plans to avoid major stimulus moves amid signs the economy is stabilizing.

State media reported that the People's Bank of China's latest injection of liquidity showed the use of target support rather than what the Xinhua News Agency described as a "scattergun approach."

"Authorities have taken a more nuanced approach to monetary and fiscal support, with targeted steps to reduce the financing costs of small and private businesses, expand effective investment and encourage domestic consumption," it said.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 bucked the downtrend, gaining 0.5% to 22,307.58. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5% to 2,190.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 0.9% to 29,549.80, while Australia's markets were closed for Anzac Day, a national holiday. India's Sensex edged 0.1% lower and Taiwan gained 0.1%. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.

Traders are awaiting U.S. economic growth data, due to be released later in the week.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 28 cents to $66.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 0.6% to settle at $65.89 per barrel. Oil has been climbing recently since dropping below $43 in late December. Brent crude gained 82 cents to $75.39 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was flat at 111.87 Japanese yen, little changed from 111.85 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1142 from $1.1206.

(CZ)