European stock markets slid in light trading volumes on Thursday, despite fresh hopes of new Chinese economic stimulus measures, dealers said.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading companies fell 0.15 percent to 5,824.41 points in late morning trade, Frankfurt's DAX 30 eased 0.04 percent to 6,944.27 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.11 percent to 3,445.55.
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency dipped to $1.2275 from $1.2285 late on Wednesday in New York.
"It is indeed a very quiet summer market, with volumes significantly down and trading struggling to gain traction," said Gekko Global Markets sales trader Anita Paluch.
Later on Thursday, investors will digest US economic data including building permits, housing starts, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index and weekly jobless data.
"The US economic data releases continue to paint a mixed picture, although hopes for further intervention from the US Federal Reserve at its September meeting are fading," added GFT analyst David Morrison.
Asian markets were mixed on Thursday, with Tokyo the best performer as the yen weakened against the dollar owing to dimming expectations of fresh monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve.
Many investors expect Beijing to introduce new measures to kickstart the world's number two economy, which has seen growth slow sharply in 2012.
There are also hopes for a fresh drive by the European Central Bank to buy sovereign bonds to help under-pressure nations such as Italy and Spain.
Tokyo rose 1.88 percent, Sydney climbed 1.14 percent and Seoul closed almost flat.
However, Hong Kong gave up its morning gains and slipped 0.45 percent, while Shanghai shed 0.32 percent in value.
Wall Street had closed mixed Wednesday with the Dow and S&P 500 essentially flat for the second straight day as fresh data releases failed to give any clearer picture of US economic growth.
Earnings news from retailers steered much of the action, with shares in office supply chain Staples plunging 14.6 percent on its poor results and outlook.
Traders meanwhile have an eye on Europe as worries about Athens spiked again following a report in the Financial Times that Greece will call for a two-year extension to its tough austerity programme.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will make the request when he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande next week, according to the newspaper.