The Chinese central bank has recently unveiled a number of easing measures to boost the subdued economy / © AFP/File
European stock markets mainly fell Thursday with sentiment jarred by sliding shares on Wall Street, which was rocked by surging global inflation and the prospect of rising interest rates.
New York's Nasdaq on Wednesday fell into a correction -- a decline of greater than 10 percent from its most recent peak -- as tech giants are more susceptible to higher borrowing costs.
On Thursday, London slid 0.1 percent with shares in drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline falling 1.0 percent after consumer goods giant Unilever said it would not lift its £50-billion bid for the consumer health care unit owned by GSK and Pfizer.
Unilever shares rose on the news.
Paris equities also dropped 0.1 percent but Frankfurt grinded 0.1 percent higher in early afternoon eurozone deals.
Oil prices paused after a strong run-up this week on the back of expectations for improved demand as economies reopen and as unrest in the crude-rich Middle East sparks supply concerns.
"In Europe, the main bourses turned broadly lower after more selling in the United States, whilst Asian markets snapped a week's run of losses as China cut benchmark mortgage rates," said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.
Asian indices rose as investors returned to buying after recent losses, with Chinese property firms enjoying a much-needed lift on fresh easing measures by the country's central bank.
Signs that Beijing was on a new monetary easing course also provided some crucial support to Chinese tech giants which have been hammered in recent months as they were caught in the clutches of a wide-ranging, private-sector clampdown.
The People's Bank of China on Thursday lowered a key bank lending rate for the second time in as many months, days after slashing its policy rate for the first time since the pandemic struck.
However, investors remain grounded by concerns about the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy plans as it battles soaring inflation, which has been stoked by a cocktail of surging demand, supply chain snarls, rising wages and a spike in energy prices.
Speculation is now growing that the bank will have to lift interest rates four times or more this year.
Some analysts are tipping a 50 basis-point hike in March, the first such move since 2000, while the bank has also said it plans to offload the bond holdings on its books that have helped keep costs down.
The inevitable end of the era of ultra-cheap cash -- which helped fuel a near two-year equity rally and economic rebound -- has weighed on global markets for months.
- Key figures around 1200 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,585.96 points
Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.1 percent at 15,826.79
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,163.95
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 4,287.77
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 27,772.93 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 3.4 percent at 24,952.35 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,555.06 (close)
New York - Dow: DOWN 1.0 percent at 35,028.65 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1338 from $1.1343 late Wednesday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3604 from $1.3612
Euro/pound: UNCHANGED at 83.33 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.27 yen from 114.33 yen
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $88.25 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $85.81 per barrel