NEW YORK, New York - Global stock markets continued their retreat on Thursday.
There was little enthusiasm for discussion on the U.S.-China trade negotiations, given the many conflicting statements out of the White House in recent days, weeks and months.
"The fulcrum of this optimism see-saw is the prospects for the phase 1 trade agreement. Investors are pulling petals from a daisy saying, 'it'll happen this year, it won't,'" Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York told Reuters on Thursday.
"They are basically saying we've pushed this as far as we can. Valuations appear stretched at 18.5 times forward earnings compared with the 20-year average forward P/E Of 16.5," he said.
At the close of trading Thursday, the Dow Jones industrials were down 54.80 points or 0.20% at 27,766.29.
The Nasdaq Composite shed 20.51 points or 0.24% to 8,506.21.
The Standard and Poor's 500 eased 4.92 points or 0.16% to 3,103.54.
The U.S. dollar was mostly steady. The euro and British pound eased a tad to 1.1060 and 1.2906 respectively. The Japanese yen was unchanged at 108.58. The Swiss franc eased a fraction to 0.9931. The Canadian dollar advanced a few points to 1.3285.
The Australian dollar drifted down to 0.6787. The New Zealand dollar sat on the fence, last quoted at 0.6404.
On overseas markets the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.33%. The German Dax declined 0.16%, while in Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 0.22%.
On Asian markets, in Japan the Nikkei 225 fell 109.99 points or 0.48% to 23,035.58.
The Australian All Ords was off 50.60 points or 0.74% at 6,777.70.
China's Shanghai Composite was solidly in the red but trimmed losses towards the close. The key index ended down 7.42 points or 0.25% at 2,903.64.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong continued its recent rout, giving up 422.73 points or 1.57% to 26,466.88.