Global Shares Mostly Decline After Wall Street Recovers

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares traded mostly lower Thursday after Wall Street recovered some losses from the day before.

France's CAC 40 fell nearly 0.3% in early trading to 7,933.56. Germany's DAX declined 0.4% to 17,653.05. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.4% to 7,651.10. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.2% at 38,619.00. S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2% to 5,100.75.

Investors are watching signs from the European Central Bank, where the Governing Council is concluding its policy meeting, and the message ECB President Christine Lagarde might relay in her news conference.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index momentarily reached a record high in early trading but slipped later to finish at 39,598.71, down 1.2%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose nearly 0.4% to 7,763.70. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2% to 2,647.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.3% to 16,229.78, while the Shanghai Composite declined 0.4% to 3,027.40.

"The positive handover from Wall Street, alongside lower Treasury yields and a weaker U.S. dollar, may offer some relief as Fed Chair's testimony failed to drive much hawkish deviation from his usual script," said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said again that cuts to interest rates may be coming this year, but that the Fed needs more data showing inflation is cooling before it will act.

Investors are scrutinizing Powell's words for hints about when the Federal Reserve could begin cutting its main interest rate, which is at its highest level since 2001.

"We have some confidence of that," Powell said about inflation moving down toward its target of 2%.

"We want to see a little more data so we can become more confident."

Traders have already shelved earlier expectations for a cut in March, and they're now eyeing June as the likeliest beginning.

Investors are also awaiting U.S. inflation and economic activity data set to be released later in the week, as well as data from Britain on monthly output and the labor market.

Wall Street's hope has been for continued but more modest growth in job openings. Such a slowdown could help the economy thread the needle and stay out of recession while also removing upward pressure on inflation. That in turn could get the Federal Reserve to cut rates.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 45 cents to $78.68 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 49 cents to $82.47 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged down to 147.97 Japanese yen from 149.32 yen, amid some speculation the Bank of Japan may finally start raising interest rates. But analysts say they don't expect a move yet at the next meeting set for later this month.

The euro inched down to $1.0900 from $1.0902.