* European markets dip, expectations for ECB policy action
* All eyes on bank's monthly meeting after Draghi speech
* MSCI ex-Japan Asia shares retreat from 7-year high
* Samsung Electronics up as rival Apple hit by security
By Patrick Graham
LONDON, Sept 4 A month-long march higher for
European and Asian stock markets stalled on Thursday on concerns
the European Central Bank will do nothing immediate at its
meeting later in the day to address a deteriorating economic
With economies across Europe sputtering, that shares remain
near their highest levels since the 2007-8 financial crisis is
chiefly a reflection of the billions in stimulus pumped into the
financial system by central banks over the past five years.
President Mario Draghi ramped up expectations that the ECB
is ready to embark on a new round with a speech at the Jackson
Hole conference of central bankers last month underlining
concerns about the threat of deflation.
After that hint, anything less than action on Thursday is
likely to disappoint stock investors, although there are already
signs -- particularly in euro zone bond markets -- of doubts
about what the bank can deliver immediately.
"Stocks have been retracing the summer correction, but the
rally now lacks momentum ahead of the ECB," FXCM analyst Vincent
Ganne said. "A lot has been priced in already so risks are on
the downside if Draghi disappoints."
The euro zone's major stock markets fell back by between a
third and a half a percent in early deals ,
although the fall in the pan-European FTSEurofirst blue chip
index was softened by a small rise in London.
"Speculation of full-blown QE was fuelled when Draghi
delivered his speech in Jackson Hole, but it is difficult for
the ECB to unleash another weapon when they have not seen the
impact of something which they have already announced," said
Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.
"The best case scenario could very well be that Mr Draghi
may announce more details about the ABS program since they have
hired Blackrock for this purpose. The other bullish scenario
could be 10 basis points cut by the bank, but I am positive that
the bank may not be using this card as of yet."
The ECB last month appointed the world's biggest asset
management company, Blackrock, to advise on the design and
implementation of its plan to, if needed, buy asset-backed
securities - part of efforts to avoid outright government bond
The euro, which has suffered from the rise in expectations
that the ECB could embark on such outright money-printing, was
on the back foot again after a brief recovery.
The ECB already announced in June it would embark on another
programme of cheap long-term loans to banks later this month.
Global shares had rallied on Wednesday when Russian
President Vladimir Putin, after speaking to Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko by phone, said he believed Kiev and pro-Russian
separatists could reach agreement on a ceasefire at talks in
Minsk on Friday.
While Poroshenko also indicated the conversation with Putin
had injected some momentum into efforts to end the Ukraine
conflict, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk dismissed
the plan as a "deception".
That helped knock back Asian shares overnight and MSCI's
broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
eased 0.1 percent while Japan's Nikkei average
shed 0.3 percent.
U.S. shares were also dragged down by a fall in Apple
, hit by concerns over a possible security breach a week
before the launch of its new iPhone and as rival Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd launched a new product.
"I suspect hedge funds have started to unwind their
long-Apple, short-Samsung positions ahead of the announcement of
the new iPhone," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
Samsung Electronics rose 1.8 percent, helping to lift
Seoul's Kospi 0.25 percent.
The Bank of Japan maintained its policy on Thursday, leaving
its massive stimulus programme unchanged. The Bank of England
also meets on Thursday and is expected to leave policy
The dollar traded at 104.95 yen to the dollar, off
Wednesday's eight-month high of 105.31.
(editing by John Stonestreet)