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GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall Street set to open lower ahead of U.S. jobs and retail sales data

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* MSCI World Shares fall, Stoxx 600 up 0.6% 

  * U.S. retail sales and jobs data due (Updates prices throughout, adds comment) 

  LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Global markets struggled to gain momentum on Thursday and U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open for Wall Street, weighed by concerns about a possible slowdown in the economic recovery from COVID-19. 

  European equities gained, bucking the trend from a weak Asian session. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped to its lowest level so far this year, and Chinese shares sank as investors dumped property and consumer stocks over fears that the liquidity crisis at China's Evergrande Group could affect the broader economy. 

  The group's main unit, Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd, applied to suspend trading of its onshore corporate bonds following a downgrade. 

  At 1114 GMT, the MSCI world equity index was down by around 0.1%. It has fallen by around 1.7% since it reached an all-time high on Sept. 7. 

  Unexpectedly weak data from China on Wednesday reinforced investor bets that global growth is slowing due to COVID-19 and supply chain constraints. 

  But Europe's STOXX 600 was up 0.8% on the day, having fallen 0.8% the previous day and gained 0.2% so far this week. 

  S&P 500 E-minis were down 0.1%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 0.2%. 

  Focus is now on U.S. data on weekly jobless claims and August retail sales, both of which are due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT). 

  "Retail sales figures are expected to have fallen in August," Saxo Bank’s chief investment officer, Steen Jakobsen, wrote in a note to clients. 

  "Although the drop is largely priced in the market, it could still support US Treasuries pushing yields down by a couple of basis points. Yet, we expect yields to remain rangebound between 1.25% and 1.35% until next week’s FOMC meeting." 

  Markets are waiting for next week's Federal Reserve meeting for clues as to when the U.S. central bank will start to taper stimulus. 

  Investors are also closely watching inflation data. The global picture is mixed: U.S. data on Tuesday showed inflation cooling and having possibly peaked, but inflation in Britain was the highest in years, according to data on Wednesday. 

  "We have an unusual situation where the overall market is sideways to lower but with a risk-on trend underneath and that's down to signs the Delta variant may be peaking in the U.S., which is driving people into reflation and recovery plays," said Kiran Ganesh, head of cross asset at UBS Global Wealth Management. 

  "At the same time there are concerns about fiscal consolidation and worries about China moving to lockdowns." 

  Major banks have told clients to reduce their exposure to stocks, with many market participants expecting the equity bull run to end. 

  UBS's Ganesh also said that regulatory risks to Chinese stocks are not over. 

  "We'll need 3-4 months of quiet before people start moving back (to buy Chinese stocks). Big tech companies more exposed to social issues - whether property or education - are subject to regulatory risks." 

  The U.S. dollar rose, with the dollar index up 0.3% on the day at 92.746. 

  The euro was down 0.4% at $1.17705. 

  The Australian dollar - which is seen as a liquid proxy for risk appetite - was 0.2% weaker at $0.7318. 

  Jobs data showed that Australian employment dived in August as coronavirus lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne forced businesses to lay off workers and slash hours. 

  The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield was a touch higher at 1.3141%, while core euro zone government bond yields were little changed. 

  (Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, additional reporting by Sujata Rao; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Chizu Nomiyama) 

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