After last month's rally traders have turned sellers, and some observers warn the next few weeks could see some volatility
After last month's rally traders have turned sellers, and some observers warn the next few weeks could see some volatility AFP News

Global stocks were mixed Tuesday as investors digested data suggesting a slowing US labor market, while US crude prices sank to a five-month low amid lingering concerns about demand.

Equity markets surged last month as slowing inflation and a softer US job market stoked expectations that the Federal Reserve would begin loosening monetary policy early next year.

But stocks have struggled in recent days as investors and analysts worried that the bets on interest rate cuts may have gone too far.

Investors are looking to US payrolls data due out later this week for confirmation that the slowdown in the labor market and economy sought by the Fed is taking hold.

"The markets are a touch nervous ahead of US jobs figures this week which could either reinforce or undermine the narrative that interest rates have peaked and rate cuts are on the way," said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

A different set of US labor market figures was released on Tuesday, showing a decline in October of the number of job openings to 8.7 million from 9.4 million a month prior.

The data "suggest that labor market slack is growing, even as payroll growth remains relatively resilient," said Olivia Cross at Capital Economics.

"With signs pointing to a sharper fall in wage growth ahead, the Fed can be reassured ahead of its meeting next week that inflationary pressures from the labor market are dissipating," she added.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 finished slightly lower, while the tech-rich Nasdaq edged higher.

In Europe, Frankfurt's DAX 40 index hit a record high of 16,551.34 points during trading and then set a record close of 16,533.11 points as hopes of a rate cut by the ECB are also on the rise. Paris stocks also climbed.

London's FTSE 100 fell however, as mining stocks were pulled down by lower commodity prices.

Elsewhere, crude prices continued to retreat, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January falling one percent to $72.32 a barrel, a five-month low.

Analysts attributed the weakness in crude to skepticism at the latest production agreement announced by the OPEC+ group of exporters.

After markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong closed, Moody's said it had downgraded its outlook on China's credit rating citing rising debt in the world's second-largest economy.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 36,124.56 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 4,567.18 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.3 percent at 14,229.91 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,489.84 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 7,386.99 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.8 percent at 16,533.11 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 4,452.77 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.4 percent at 32,775.82 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.9 percent at 16,327.86 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.7 percent at 2,972.30 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0801 from $1.0836 on Monday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2596 from $1.2633

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 147.16 yen from 147.21 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.0 percent at $72.32 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.1 percent at $77.20 per barrel