SEOUL, South Korea - Global stock markets fell Tuesday as investors prepared for monetary policy announcements from central banks and the outcome of China's economic planning meeting.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent to 6,399.00 and Germany's DAX shed 0.4 percent to 10,762.22. France's CAC 40 dropped 0.4 percent to 4,877.94.
Futures showed that Wall Street was set for a sluggish start, with both Dow futures and S&P 500 futures essentially flat.
Central bankers in some of the world's biggest economies are convening this week to discuss key rates and stimulus actions. The U.S. Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting later on Tuesday amid low expectations for a rate increase as U.S. inflation is subdued and recent data suggests the economic recovery remains uneven. Bank of Japan policymakers are meeting on Friday and are expected to leave the door open to additional monetary stimulus.
"No one expects the Fed to budge on policy tomorrow," analysts at DBS Bank in Singapore said in a market commentary. Third quarter U.S. growth data slated for release on Thursday could determine whether the central bank "dares move" at its final meeting for 2015 in December, DBS said.
Chinese leaders began meeting Monday to set goals for the world's second-largest economy for the next five years. The Communist Party leaders are expected to redouble their efforts to shift China's reliance on trade and investment to more self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption. Whether China's growth target will be lowered is a point of hot debate, Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary, following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's remark that communist leaders will accept growth below their official target of "about 7 percent." On Friday, Beijing cut interest rates for a sixth time since November.
Asian markets closed mostly lower but Chinese stocks turned positive. Nikkei 225 fell 0.9 percent to 18,777.04 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2 percent to 2,044.65. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 23,142.73 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rose 0.1 percent to 3,434.34. Stocks in Taiwan and Australia were lower.
Benchmark U.S. crude was down 61 cents to $43.37 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 62 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $43.98 a barrel in New York on Monday.
The dollar fell to 120.33 yen from 121.06 yen in the previous trading session. The euro edged down to $1.1055 from $1.1057.