A contraction in Chinese manufacturing and the possibility of higher U.S. interest rates dragged global stock markets lower Thursday, AP reported. China's manufacturing tumbled to a seven-month low in February, according to the preliminary results of a HSBC survey of factory purchasing managers. European stocks lost ground in early trading, with Germany's DAX down 1.2 percent at 9,540.51. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.5 percent to 6,764.77 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent to 4,314.62. Wall Street was poised for a sluggish day with Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures both down 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 1.2 percent lower at 22,394.08 and Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 2.2 percent to 14,449.18. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6 percent to 1,930.57. Stocks were down in Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore while benchmarks in Indonesia and Australia had marginal gains. After trading in positive territory, China's Shanghai Composite edged down 0.2 percent to 2,138.78. In energy market, benchmark U.S. oil for March delivery was down 24 cents to $102.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 74 cents to $102.84 on Wednesday, In currencies, the euro edged down 0.2 percent to $1.3701. The dollar was down 0.4 percent 101.84 yen.