U.S. stocks looked set for a lackluster start Thursday after a two-day rally.
The continuing threat of a U.S.-led military strike against Syria has kept stocks from going too far too fast.
Investors had virtually no reaction to job numbers released by ADP, which showed hiring continuing at a modest pace.
"Today's number does almost nothing to change the larger labor market story," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.
The Labor Department's initial jobless claims figures also pointed to a steady recovery in the job market, with fewer people filing for unemployment.
Syria is sure to dominate discussions at the G-20 conference in Russia, which kicks off Thursday. Investors will be listening closely to assess if and when a military strike may occur. The G-20 summit was meant to focus on the global economy, but the debate over Syria is expected to overshadow the event.
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank and the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England decided to keep their key interest rates unchanged.
Earlier in the day, the Bank of Japan struck a more upbeat note on prospects for the world's third-largest economy, saying that the country is on track to beat deflation.
Shares in LinkedIn continued were lower in premarket trading Thursday, though they had recovered somewhat from earlier losses. The company sold more than$1.2 billion in stock in a secondary offering Wednesday night. The company's shares are still up more than 100% this year.
European markets were all moving higher in morning trading, with London's FTSE 100 index leading the way with a nearly 0.4% gain.
In Asia, the Mumbai Sensex rallied by roughly 2% near the end of the trading day as investors welcomed early policy moves from Rahguram Rajan, the new head of India's central bank.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index notched a 1.2% gain. Japan's Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite index closed relatively unchanged.