U.S. Markets

US stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday after President Barack Obama detailed his plans for cutting the deficit and the Federal Reserve reported encouraging news on the economy.

The S&P 500 Index was up 0.25 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,314.41. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.41 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,270.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.61 percent.

President Barack Obama's spending cuts proposals for the years ahead are much smaller than the Republican proposal a week ago. Obama called for $2 trillion in reduced spending over the next 12 years.

JP Morgan led the financials lower after its Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon signaled that the bank will not boost dividends in the next couple of quarters.

Among financials, JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) declined 0.84 percent and Citigroup (NYSE:C) fell 1.10 percent, while Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) lost 1.48 percent.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.50 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.40 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.63 percent.

The euro declined 0.32 percent to 1.4397 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.68 percent. Crude oil futures fell 0.57 percent to $106.50 a barrel and gold futures rose 0.03 percent.

European Markets

European stock markets fell in early trade on Thursday as declines from financial and technology shares weighed.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.52 percent to 276.80. DAX30 fell 50.92 points or 0.71 percent to 7,127.05 and CAC 40 declined 41.92 points or 1.05 percent 3,964.31, while FTSE 100 declined 53.47 points or 0.89 percent to 5,956.97.

Among financials, BNP Paribas declined 2.03 percent to 52.38 euros and Deutsche Bank AG fell 2.52 percent to 41.46 euros, while Unicredit declined 1.72 percent.

Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. shares plunged 7.30 percent after its chief executive Bart Becht shocked the market by resigning.

Asian Markets

Asian stock markets ended mixed on Thursday, with shares in China and Hong Kong declining ahead of Friday's inflation data from China.

Tokyo shares pared earlier losses and ended with slight gains. Benchmark Nikkei gained 0.13 percent or 12.74 points to 9,653.92.

Isuzu Motors surged 6.16 percent to 310 yen on news that Volkswage is considering buying all or part of the Japanese truck maker.

Among automakers, Honda Motor gained 0.27 percent to 2,965 yen and Nissan Motor rose 1.53 percent to 727 yen, while Toyota Motor declined 0.45 percent to 3,270 yen.

Chinese shares ended lower, led by declines in banking and real estate shares on concerns that consumer price inflation for March would come in higher than expected. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 121.03 points or 0.50 percent to 24,014.00 and Chinese Shanghai composite fell 0.24 percent or 7.34 points to 3,043.06.

China Construction Bank Corp. declined 1.34 percent to HK$7.36 and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China fell 1.21 percent to HK$6.51, while Bank of China declined 1.13 percent.

South Korean shares ended higher, led by gains from automakers and chemical companies’ shares. Seoul composite advanced 22.53 points or 0.9 percent to 2,141.06. Hyundai Motor gained 4.47 percent and Kia Motors rose 2.44 percent, while LG Chem advanced 4.18 percent.