Global stocks drift after lackluster U.S. retail sales data

LONDON - Global stocks drifted Thursday after weak retail sales figures suggested the U.S. economy is struggling to maintain growth momentum and as bond markets remained volatile. In Europe, trading levels were low as many traders were on holiday even though it isn't a holiday in the markets.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 4,977 while Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent to 11,382. Britain's FTSE 100 was barely changed at 6,950. Wall Street was poised for a solid opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.5 percent.

On Wednesday, investor sentiment was depressed by weak U.S. retail sales figures which reinforced recent worries about the momentum of growth in the world's biggest economy. How Wall Street opens could well hinge on weekly jobless claims figures and producer price data.

"How the Dow Jones will react to these figures remains to be seen," said Connor Campbell, a trader at Spreadex. "Investors have struggled to display a coherent attitude to both good and bad data of late due to the ongoing debate over a potential interest rate hike."

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 1 percent to close at 19,570.24. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.3 percent to 5,696.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 27,286.55 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,120.33. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.1 percent to 4,378.31.

The weak U.S. retail sales data set off a dollar sell-off against the euro that's persisted Thursday. The euro was up 0.6 percent at $1.1415 while the dollar was flat at 119.24 yen.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 8 cents at $60.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 41 cents at $67.68 a barrel in London.