BEIJING - Global stock markets mostly fell Friday after Wall Street slid and Japan's central bank surprised markets by putting off possible additional stimulus.
In early trading, France's CAC 40 fell 1.4 percent to 4,495.60 and Germany's DAX lost 1 percent to 10,214.73. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.8 percent to 6,268.49. On Thursday, the CAC 40 retreated by 0.7 percent, the DAX shed 0.4 percent and the FTSE 100 was off 0.2 percent.
Wall Street looked set to extend its losses, with futures for the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 down 0.1 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.5 percent to 21,067.05 and India's Sensex lost 0.4 percent to 25,491.07. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.3 percent to 2,938.32 and Seoul's Kospi gave up 0.3 percent to 1,994.15. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines also retreated. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.5 percent to 5,252.20 and New Zealand also rose. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
Tech stocks slumped after billionaire investor Carl Icahn revealed he sold his stake in Apple Inc. Icahn wasn't a major shareholder but investors watch his moves closely. Apple has fallen 15 percent in two weeks. Other shares moved on takeover news. The Dow lost 1.2 percent, the S&P fell 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq composite shed 1.2 percent for its sixth straight daily decline.
The Bank of Japan surprised investors by deciding against adding to its huge stimulus for the world's third-largest economy. Investors wanted to see that because inflation and consumer spending are weak, largely because the yen has gotten stronger. The bank's decision to wait "will erode further investor confidence" in its ability to achieve its inflation target, Chris Weston of IG said in a report. On Thursday, the Nikkei 225 tumbled by an unusually wide daily margin of 3.6 percent.
"Expect short-term share market volatility to remain high as we head into May," with global growth fragile and the Fed preparing markets for an eventual rate hike, Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a report. "However, beyond near-term volatility, we still see shares trending higher this year helped by a combination of relatively attractive valuations, further global monetary easing and continuing moderate global economic growth."
The U.S. economy grew a bit less than expected in the first quarter. The government said gross domestic product increased 0.5 percent as consumer spending slowed down, exports fell and business investment plunged. That was the weakest result in two years, but experts think the economy will bounce back in the current quarter.
Benchmark U.S. crude shed 3 cents to $46.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 80 cents on Thursday to close at $46.03. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2 cents to $47.75 in London. It added 84 cents the previous session to $47.77.
The dollar declined to 107.24 from Thursday's 108.12. The euro rose to $1.1393 from $1.1352.