European stock indices are losing steam before the opening of the U.S. session as member nations reported less than stellar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers and news of China tightening shook world markets.

The U.K. FTSE 100 is down 0.25 percent, the German DAX managed to trade up 0.24 percent, and the French CAC 40 is down 0.26 percent.   For the U.K. stock market, bank shares are the worst performers.

After the closing of its stock market, Beijing surprised the world by announcing another reserve requirement hike; it raised the bank reserve ratio by 0.50 percent to 16.5 percent.

A Eurozone GDP report also disappointed.  The figured showed a growth of 0.1 percent from last quarter, missing expectations. 

Germany and Italy growth missed expectations while France grew 0.60 percent, beating expectations.

Market participants are also eyeing the U.S. retail sales figure, to be released at 8:30 am EST, and the U.S. consumer sentiment figure, to be released at 9:55 am EST.