By Riva Gold

Global stocks retreated Thursday in the penultimate trading session of the year as a setback on Wall Street rippled overseas.

The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.4% shortly after markets opened from its highest close in 2016, with every sector trading in negative territory.

The moves followed losses in the U.S. on Wednesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to its lowest in two weeks in relatively light trading.

In currencies, the WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.4% on Thursday after settling at a 14-year high, in a decline some analysts attributed to weak U.S. home sales data. The euro was last up 0.3% against the dollar at $1.0453, while the dollar was last down 0.5% against the yen.

The stronger yen and weak close on Wall Street contributed to a 1.3% decline on Japan's Nikkei Stock Average on Thursday. Toshiba's shares also continued to tumble amid concern about a write-down at its nuclear business.

The moves came even as a summary of opinions released Thursday showed a majority of the board members at the Bank of Japan want to maintain ultra-easy monetary policy, with one policy maker calling for interest rates to be kept at zero for a "considerable" time.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.2%, while stocks in Australia added 0.3% as a weaker dollar helped lift metals prices. Gold was last up 0.8% at $1,150 an ounce.

The 10-year German government bond yield fell to 0.169% Thursday from 0.195%, while 10-year Treasury yields fell to 2.484% from 2.510% previously. Yields move inversely to prices.

Kosaku Narioka and Takashi Nakamichi contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 29, 2016 03:57 ET (08:57 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.