Markets on Hold After Wall Street Clinches Fresh Record
By Riva Gold and Suryatapa Bhattacharya -- Stocks stall in Europe and Asia -- ECB minutes eyed -- Spanish stocks recover
Stocks showed signs of stalling Thursday after gains in internet retailers pushed the S&P 500 to its seventh straight session of gains.
Futures pointed to a flat opening on Wall Street, although if the S&P 500 does close higher Thursday, it will be its longest streak of records since 1997.
Asian markets were little changed with many bourses closed for holidays, while the Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.2% in early trading after snapping a nine-session winning streak on Wednesday, its longest in over two years.
Shares of Swedish lock maker Assa Abloy led declines in Europe after its chief executive said he is considering stepping down next year.
Spanish stocks outperformed meanwhile, with Spain's IBEX 35 index adding 0.5% after sliding 2.9% Wednesday, its biggest percentage decline in more than a year.
Catalonia set a course toward declaring its secession from Spain as soon as Monday as Catalan President Carles Puigdemont made a televised address in which he took issue with a speech Spain's king made the previous evening admonishing Catalonia's leaders for "inadmissible disloyalty."
U.K. stocks also got a boost from a modest decline in the pound to $1.3196 and gains in shares of basic resources companies.
Investors were also waiting for the European Central Bank to release minutes from its September meeting later Thursday. ECB President Mario Draghi signaled after that meeting that his bank could announce a plan to gradually end its bond-buying program in 2018. Investors will also be closely watching for any commentary on this year's 11.9% appreciation of the common currency and the impact it may have on policy decisions.