MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- World stock markets traded fitfully Tuesday, with investors' sentiment mixed ahead of a crucial U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that could signal when the Fed will start reducing its monetary stimulus.
Most Asian indexes were up while European benchmarks and U.S. futures were down.
"It's a case where all eyes are still on the (Federal Reserve) outcome and at the same time we are approaching the end of the year — volumes are thinning, liquidity is thinning as well — so I think there's little impetus here for direction," said Mitul Kotecha, at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent at 6,487.73. Germany's DAX slid 0.4 percent while France's CAC-40 was down 0.8 percent at 4,088.17.
Futures in New York augured a muted opening on Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial futures were down 0.1 percent at 15,860. S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 percent at 1,787.
Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.8 percent up at 15,278.63. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.2 percent at 23,069.23. China's Shanghai's Composite fell 0.5 percent at 2,151.08. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.3 percent at 5,103.20.
Markets were up in Southeast Asia, led by the Philippines. The Philippine Stock Exchange index climbed 2 percent to 5,928.99. The Philippine economy may grow 7 percent this year — the upper end of government's 6 percent to 7 percent target — despite devastation in central regions due to a powerful earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
The Fed meets in Washington for two days beginning Tuesday, and officials could signal when the Fed will taper stimulus programs that has helped boost the stock market this year.
The Fed's $85 billion of monthly bond purchases have kept U.S. interest rates low to encourage economic recovery but also sent a flood of money into stock markets worldwide in search of higher returns.
In energy markets, benchmark crude for January delivery shed 39 cents to $97.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 88 cents to close at $97.48 a barrel on Monday.
The euro rose to $1.3771 from $1.3762 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 102.92 yen from 103.06 yen.