A roundup of trading on major world markets.
NEW YORK - Wall Street equities have finished little changed as investors take stock of mixed US economic data and await Friday's US jobs report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday lost 12.69 points (0.08 per cent) at 16,272.01.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 3.79 points (0.20 per cent) to 1,923.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 6.92 points (0.15 per cent) to 4,627.08.
Stocks spent much of the day in the red, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed to push back into positive territory late in the session.
A reading on US manufacturing activity showed near-flat activity in September, while construction spending rose to a seven-year high in August.
Analysts expect Friday's jobs report will show the US economy added 205,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 per cent, a seven-year low.
LONDON - Europe's stock markets have begun the final quarter of the year on a mixed note as investors welcomed improving Chinese data but remained cautious on the eve of a key US jobs report.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies edged up 0.18 per cent on Thursday to close at 6,072.47 points.
But in Paris, the CAC 40 slid 0.65 per cent, compared with Wednesday's close, to 4,426.54 points despite soaring French car sales boosting shares in automakers.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 index lost 1.57 per cent to finish at 9,509.25 points, with troubled German carmaker Volkswagen losing 1.28 per cent to 96.50 euros.
"It was a bit of shaky first day of the quarter with early gains across Europe giving way after a string of underwhelming manufacturing data which served to reinforce IMF Chief Christine Lagarde's latest warning of slower global growth this year," said analyst Jaspar Lawler at CMC Markets.
European markets had pushed higher in morning trading, cheered by a modest improvement in an official gauge of Chinese factory activity that sent Asian equities and emerging market currencies rallying for a second straight day.
TOKYO - A slight improvement in an official gauge of Chinese factory activity gave a boost to investor confidence Thursday, rallying Asian equities and emerging market currencies for a second straight day.
However, a dip in Japanese business confidence highlighted the struggle ahead for the country's leaders in kickstarting the economy in the face of a growth slowdown in China and an expected US interest rate rise.
Hong Kong and Shanghai share markets were closed for public holidays.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday gained 1.92 per cent, or 334.27 points, to 17,722.42