TOKYO -Global stocks fell across the board Monday ahead of policy decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, and major earnings reports and economic data from Japan and China expected later in the week.
France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent to 4,531.32 in early trading, while Germany's DAX inched down 0.9 percent to 10,284.02. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent to 6,275.36.
U.S. shares were set to drift lower with both Dow and S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent.
Central bank policy meetings in Japan and the U.S. are the focus of investors' attention. It is unclear whether additional monetary easing is in store, but the meetings may provide indicators for what can be expected on interest rates in the future. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, RBNZ, is also holding a policy meeting this week.
"While most of the focus will center on possible policy action from the BOJ, traders will be looking for forward guidance from both the Fed and RBNZ. It is likely we are in for another very bumpy ride this week," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda in Singapore.
Market players are also looking to annual earnings reports later this week in Japan, including those of major brokerage Nomura and video-game software and machine manufacturer Nintendo. Sony Corp. postponed its earnings release date to next month because of uncertainty over the supply chain from the recent earthquake in the southwestern main island of Kyushu.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 0.8 percent to 17,439.30. South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.1 percent to 2,014.55. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent to 21,304.44, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.4 percent to 2,946.67. Markets were closed in Australia for ANZAC Day, a public holiday.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 40 cents to $43.33 a barrel in New York. It lost 55 cents to $43.18 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 34 cents to $44.77.
In currency markets, the dollar gained to 111.07 yen from 109.48 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1255 from $1.1303.