Retailers hold down stocks ahead of jobs data
US stocks slipped as soft retail sales and a sharp rise in the dollar left investors edgy a day before December's US employment report.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 25.65 points, or 0.22 percent, at 11,697.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.71 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,273.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.69 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,709.89.
European equities climbed to their highest in nearly 28 months, though pared gains late in the session as investors scaled back their trading positions ahead of Friday's US non-farm payrolls data.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares finished up 0.4 percent at 1,147.23 points after touching 1,154.10, the highest since mid-September 2008. It rose more than 7 percent last year after 26 percent gains in 2009.
The Nikkei climbed to an eight-month high after the dollar jumped against the yen following robust U.S. private-sector jobs data, while Resona surged 14 percent on speculation it would soon launch a planned share sale.
The benchmark Nikkei gained 1.4 percent, or 148.99 points, to 10,529.76. That was the highest level since its May 14 peak of 10,551.69, which now becomes its next target.
The broader Topix index gained 1.4 percent to 924.51.