Stocks drift as stimulus cues awaited in China, Europe; Wall Street closed for Thanksgiving

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A man cycles past an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. sian shares were mostly higher Thursday on hopes for more stimulus in China. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 17,333.52. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)


People are reflected on an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday on hopes for more stimulus in China. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 17,333.52. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)


TOKYO — Share prices drifted Thursday but expectations for new stimulus in China and Europe helped to limit losses.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent to 6,715.43 and France's CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent at 4,373.42. Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 9,938.64. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.

CHINA STIMULUS: Mainland Chinese investors appeared to shrug off data showing weaker industrial profits. Interest rate cuts Friday by the Chinese central bank raised hopes Beijing will do more to prevent growth from dropping below 7 percent.

THE QUOTE: "Equities continue to consolidate recent gains in Asia with some optimism we'll see further action from key central banks," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia. "While Fed policy expectation continues to pop up every time U.S. data shows signs of faltering, the spotlight at the moment certainly seems to be on the ECB and the PBoC."

OPEC MEETING: Comments by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi dimmed expectations that OPEC might decide Thursday to cut its output ceiling; a 32 percent drop in prices since late June is hurting poorer members of the oil cartel. OPEC members have maintained production levels despite weakness in some major economies resulting in excess supplies of crude.

ASIA'S DAY: South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 1,982.09 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent to 5,400.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 24,004.28 and Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8 percent to 17,248.50. China's Shanghai Composite gained 1 percent to 2,630.49. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

ENERGY: Oil prices slid further ahead of OPEC's Thursday meeting. Benchmark crude was down 64 cents to $73.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed Wednesday at $73.69, down 40 cents from the day before. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $1.34 cents to $76.41 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged lower to 117.37 yen from 117.63 yen late Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.2490 from $1.2507.

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