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GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall St points to a bearish opening, expecting employment data and US retail sales

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Global markets were struggling to pick up momentum on Thursday and US equity futures pointed to a slightly lower open for Wall Street, weighed down by concerns about a possible slowdown in the economic recovery after COVID-19.

* European stocks were higher, breaking the trend of a weak session in Asia. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell to its lowest level so far this year, and Chinese equities plunged as investors dumped real estate and consumer stocks out of fear that the liquidity crisis of Chinese group Evergrande may affect the economy.

* The main unit of the group, Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd, requested the suspension of the trading of its onshore corporate bonds following the downgrade of the rating.

* At 1114 GMT, the MSCI World Stock Index was down about 0.1%. It has fallen about 1.7% since hitting an all-time high on September 7.

* The unexpected weakness in data from China on Wednesday reinforced investor bets that global growth is slowing due to COVID-19 and supply chain constraints.

* However, the European STOXX 600 was up 0.8% on the day, after falling 0.8% the day before and gaining 0.2% so far this week.

* E-minis on the S&P 500 were down 0.1%, while E-minis on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.2%. The focus is now on US data for weekly jobless claims and retail sales for August, to be released at 1230 GMT.

* Markets are waiting for next week’s Federal Reserve meeting for clues on when the US central bank will start to reduce stimulus.

* The dollar index was up 0.3% on the day, at 92.746. The euro was down 0.4% to stand at $ 1.17705. The Australian dollar, considered a barometer of risk appetite, was down 0.2% at $ 0.7318.

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