* U.S., European shares dip with payroll report awaited
* Euro, pound, claw back versus dollar; ECB, BOE hold rates
* Copper tumbles in biggest one-day drop since November
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 9 Stock markets around the world
fell on Thursday as investors took profits following recent
steep gains and were reluctant to buy ahead of the closely
watched U.S. payrolls report on Friday.
While recent data has indicated improving economic
conditions, this is the first payrolls report since the Federal
Reserve announced a slowing of its stimulus program last month.
This may raise some expectations for the data to justify the
market's recent rally. Strong economic indicators on Thursday,
including an index on European sentiment and U.S. jobless
claims, were not enough to drive optimism.
U.S. initial jobless claims fell more than expected in the
latest week, while a euro-zone sentiment index jumped to a
29-month high in December.
"The numbers continue to be good, and that should eventually
push the market higher, but there's a lot of exhaustion after
the strong push we had in December," said Bruce McCain, chief
investment strategist of Key Private Bank in Cleveland. "We're
waiting for the payroll report to assess where we go from here."
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both kept
their respective 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent interest rates
unchanged on Thursday, but markets were on alert for any signs
of future ECB monetary stimulus moves or shifts in the economic
ECB President Mario Draghi has been at pains to stress in
recent months that the bank is prepared to ease its record low
interest rates below 0.25 percent and test out other more
unconventional policy options if necessary.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 12.24
points, or 0.07 percent, at 16,450.50. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 0.56 of a point, or 0.03 percent, at
1,836.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 7.71
points, or 0.19 percent, at 4,157.90.
U.S. investors were also looking ahead to the coming
earnings season, with Dow component Alcoa Inc reporting
after the market closes on Thursday.
"This is the 'show me' year in terms of earnings," said Bill
O'Neill, head of wealth management research at UBS. "You have to
see an improvement."
The FTSEurofirst-300 index of European shares fell
0.4 percent while the MSCI International ACWI Price Index
slipped 0.3 percent, pressured by Asia. Tokyo's
Nikkei 225 index slid 1.5 percent.
A sharper-than-expected slowdown in China's annual consumer
inflation in December also caused some anxiety in Asia, with
China's Shanghai Composite Index down 0.8 percent.
The pound was at $1.6456 while the euro was
up 0.1 percent at $1.3588. The U.S. dollar index
was flat against a basket of currencies.
Among commodities, gold was 0.1 percent higher
following a two-day decline.
Copper, highly sensitive to the cooling economic
outlook for top consumer China, tumbled 1.6 percent in its
biggest one-day drop since November.
"I'm a bear on copper prices - I think $7,000 is a more
sustainable level," said Helen Lau, a senior commodities analyst
with UOB Kay Hian.
"The dollar will continue to strengthen because of U.S
tapering (stimulus withdrawal), and China's economic growth is
U.S. crude futures fell 0.6 percent to $91.77 a
barrel while Brent crude slipped 0.3 percent to $106.87