​Europe dips but Asian stocks rise on Japan stimulus hopes

TOKYO - Asian shares rose but European shares dipped slightly in early trading Thursday as Japan's benchmark rose on hopes of more government stimulus spending.

France's CAC 40 inched down 0.1 percent in early trading to 4,374.86 while Germany's DAX was little changed at 10,139.84. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,708.27.

U.S. shares were also set to drift lower with both Dow and S&P 500 futures losing 0.1 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent to finish at 16,810.22. South Korea's Kospi slipped nearly 0.2 percent to 2,012.22. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.6 percent to 22,004.63. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 percent to 3,039.01.

Japanese media reported the government may be considering a 20 trillion yen ($186 billion) fiscal stimulus package. That sent Japan's benchmark and the U.S. dollar higher against the yen. A cheap yen is a plus for Japan's giant exporters.

Technology stocks finished higher on Wall Street, following an encouraging report from Microsoft that said momentum in its cloud-computing business helped it to return to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Investors are watching for a news conference by the European Central Bank governor, Mario Draghi, to see what he might do to shore up regional growth.

"Mario Draghi's speech is hotly anticipated by investors as they look for clues and guidance on what measures the central bank will take post Brexit to navigate through uncertainty," said Alex Wijaya, senior sales trader at CMC Markets.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose 16 cents to $45.91 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 18 cents to $47.35 a barrel.

The euro rose slightly to $1.1034 from $1.1015, while the dollar rose to 106.87 yen from 106.01 yen.