World stocks waver on Fed uncertainty

People walk under an electronic board showing stock information at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in the Lujiazui Financial Area in Shanghai, China, on Sept. 22, 2015.

REUTERS/Aly Song

HONG KONG - European stock markets sank Tuesday while Asian shares mostly rose as investors remained uncertain about the timing of U.S. interest rate hikes and awaited the release of China factory data.

European shares were down sharply in early trading. France's CAC 40 lost 1.3 percent to 4,486.91 and Germany's DAX slid 1.7 percent to 9,786.28. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 1.8 percent to 5,998.98.

U.S. stocks were poised to open lower, with both Dow and broader S&P 500 futures falling 1.5 percent.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart on Monday said he was "confident" of a rate rise this year, echoing weekend comments from other Fed officials. The Fed's decision last week not to raise interest rates sent world stock markets into a slump because the central bank cited concerns about global economic weakness. Lockhart, who said the U.S economy was "performing solidly," joined other Fed officials seeking to reassure investors worried about the state of the global economy. More insight into Fed thinking will come Thursday when Fed chief Janet Yellen delivers a speech.

Investors were awaiting monthly manufacturing data from China on Wednesday, which will give the latest update on a pillar of the world's No. 2 economy. Caixin's preliminary index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers will be closely watched for any signs of improvement after sinking to a six-year low in August. Fed officials cited China's struggling economy as one factor in its decision to delay hiking rates.

"After the Fed held off on its interest rate hike, the next concern is the economic data in mainland China," said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities. "If it can come out as stabilized and not slowing down, it will be good news. Right now globally, everyone is turning to looking at what's happening in mainland China."

Major regional indexes ended higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 0.2 percent at 21,796.5. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China was up 0.9 percent to 3,185.62. South Korea's Kospi added 0.9 percent to 1,982.06 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,103.60. Markets in Japan remain closed for a three-day holiday.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost $1.02 to $45.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2 to close at $46.68 a barrel on Monday in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 79 cents to $48.90 in London.

The dollar slipped to 119.92 yen from 120.49 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1198 from $1.1187.