MILAN/TOKYO – World stocks eased slightly on Wednesday as markets weighed risks from comments from Federal Reserve officials talking up the chance of aggressive interest rate hikes.
MSCI's benchmark for global stocks dipped by 0.1 percent by 0823 GMT, steadying after Tuesday's drop that took the index off the multi-week highs hit after a rally in July.
In Europe, the STOXX 600 equity benchmark index fell 0.1 percent after data showed business activity in the euro zone contracted slightly in July for the first time since early last year as consumers reined in spending.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.5 percent, rebounding from Tuesday's two-week closing low, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares fell 0.25 percent, giving up earlier gains.
US stock futures were little changed, following the S&P 500's 0.7 percent drop overnight.
A trio of Fed policymakers signaled on Tuesday that there would be no let up in the tightening campaign aimed at taming the highest inflation since the 1980s, even though it will take rates to a level that will more significantly curb economic activity.
Two of them, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, are widely regarded as doves.
Traders now see a chance of around 43.5 percent that the Fed will hike by another 75 basis points (bps) at its next meeting in September.
The benchmark US 10-year Treasury yields added 1.3 bps to 2.755 percent, after surging on Tuesday by 14 bps as the hawkish Fed comments suggested more rate hikes are coming in the near term, as inflation has yet to hit its peak.
Germany's 10-year Bund yields, the benchmark for the region, were up around 8 bps at 0.864 percent.
The US dollar index , which gauges the currency against six major peers, fell 0.25 percent to 106.17, having rebounded on Tuesday from a nearly one-month low at 105.03.
Gold gained 0.4 percent to $1,767.19 per ounce, but following a 0.7 percent retreat the previous session.
Oil prices dipped ahead of a meeting of OPEC+ producers at which producers are expected to keep output steady with spare capacity limited and against the backdrop of fears that a slowdown in global growth will hit fuel demand.
Brent crude futures were down $1.34, or 1.3 percent, at $99.20 a barrel at 0815 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $1.28, or 1.4 percent, to $93.14 a barrel.