Global stocks were mixed again Thursday, with Asian markets enduring another ugly session and US stocks meandering to a nearly flat finish despite better-than-expected retail sales data.
Hong Kong stocks fell for a fourth straight day as casinos extended the previous session's rout, while Tokyo and Shanghai also retreated.
European stocks rebounded, while Wall Street indices finished little change following mixed US data.
Defying expectations for another drop after falling in July, US retail sales posted a 0.7 percent rebound last month even as car sales sharply declined.
But on the downside, initial US jobless claims for the week ended September 11 were 332,000, above analysts' forecasts and 20,000 more than the week prior.
The market is "sort of in a tug of war right now," said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities.
"Should we believe the concern we have over the slowing because of Covid-19, or should we believe the data over the last two days that shows some improvement in economic activity?"
Markets have been pulled in recent weeks between confidence in the economic recovery versus the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has further complicated already difficult supply chain situations in some sectors.
In Asia, stock markets struggled to recover from the previous day's sell-off, with Hong Kong dropping 1.5 percent in the aftermath of Macau's announcement that it would crack down on the casino industry.
Trillions of dollars were wiped off the valuations of the six listed firms in reaction to Macau's proposals, which include putting a government representative on their boards.
The announcement fanned concerns that the days of multi-billion-dollar revenues are gone in Macau, which before the pandemic raked in more in a week than Las Vegas did in a month.
Sentiment in Asia was also hit by concerns about the spreading Delta coronavirus variant and its impact on the economic rebound.
In addition, traders are keeping tabs on Chinese property developer Evergrande, which is drowning in a sea of debt that could see it crash into a bankruptcy observers fear could have an impact far and wide.
- Key figures around 2050 GMT -
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 34,751.32 (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,473.75 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 15,181.92 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,027.48 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 15,651.75 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 6,622.59 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 4,169.87 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 30,323.34 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.5 percent at 24,667.85 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.3 percent at 3,607.09 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1773 from $1.1817 at 2100 GMT Wednesday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3798 from $1.3840
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.29 pence from 85.38 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 109.71 yen from 109.38 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.3 percent at $75.67 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $72.61 per barrel