Global shares were mostly lower Thursday after major Chinese property developer Evergrande said a plan to sell its property management arm to a smaller rival had fallen through.
France's CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent in early trading to 6,679.78, while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 15,498.69. Britain's FTSE 100 dipped 0.4 percent to 7,198.09. US shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.3 percent at 35,375.00. S&P 500 futures slipped 0.3 percent to 4,516.75.
China Evergrande Group's shares tumbled 12.5 percent while shares in Evergrande Property Services slipped 8 percent. In a notice to the Hong Kong exchange Evergrande said it was having difficulties selling off assets to resolve its cash crunch.
Hopson Development Holdings' shares rose 12.4% after it said was unable to complete the purchase. Trading of shares in all three companies was suspended pending a resolution of the transaction.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.5 percent to 26,017.53, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2 percent to 3,594.78.
Some "verbal assurances by government officials and loosening of home loans for some of its major banks suggest that the authorities are monitoring the property market risks, hoping to reassure markets of the knock-on impact on the economy,'' said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.9 percent to finish at 28,708.58, as the world's third-largest economy headed into nationwide elections to select a new prime minister.
The candidate from Japan's ruling party, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, has given mixed messages about his policies, and his "new capitalism" measures, which include promises to reduce income disparities. That has done little to reassure markets so far.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 7,415.40. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 3,007.33.
The market has been gaining ground as investors shift their focus to the latest round of corporate earnings. Stocks have been choppy for weeks as rising inflation and lackluster economic data raised concerns about the path ahead for economic recovery.
Several large companies are still due to release their earnings this week. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Union Pacific will report on Thursday.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude lost 33 cents to $83.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 59 cents to $85.23 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar fell to 114.04 Japanese yen from 114.27 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1643 from $1.1651.