In early trading, France's CAC-40 lost 0.7 percent to 4,902.21 and Germany's DAX shed 0.5 percent to 10,915.27. On Tuesday, the DAX rose 2.4 percent, the CAC-40 jumped 2.8 percent and Britain's FTSE-100 added 2 percent.
Wall Street looked set for gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index up 0.2 percent. On Tuesday, the Dow edged up 0.04 percent while the S&P lost 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.03 percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.1 percent to 19,649.18 and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1 percent to 3,568.47. Sydney's S&P ASX/200 advanced 0.3 percent to 5,133.10 and Seoul's Kospi was unchanged at 1,962.88. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 22,188.26. Malaysia, Jakarta and New Zealand advanced. India's Sensex shed 1.3 percent to 25,530.18 and Singapore also declined.
Investors restored calm in European markets following the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead. Travel and tourism stocks suffered but markets were unexpectedly resilient. German stocks were helped by a report showing business optimism rose in November. The data didn't fully reflect the Paris attacks, though the survey's authors say they did not appear to have had a significant impact.
The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in October after falling the prior two months. That could increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates from historic lows as early as next month. That would be "a psychological boost that the economy is self-sustaining enough that the Fed could get off the zero interest rate policy," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at Nuveen Asset Management.
"Markets are fading risk-aversion moves despite still elevated terror-related tensions," Mizuho Bank said in a report. U.S. inflation data "suggests that price pressures are rising towards the Fed's 2 percent inflation goal, supporting calls for the Fed to hike rates next month," it said.
Investors weighed mixed results from retailers ahead of the start of the Christmas shopping season amid worries that sales will be weak. Urban Outfitters fell 3.8 percent after the retailer's latest quarterly sales fell short of expectations. Wal-Mart Stores rose 3.5 percent after the company reported improved customer traffic and an increase in a key sales figure for the third quarter, even as a stronger dollar pressured its performance overseas. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners due to a fall in oil prices.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 38 cents to $41.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.07 on Tuesday to close at $40.67. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 64 cents to $44.21 per barrel in London. It fell 99 cents the previous session to $43.57.
The dollar declined to 123.2580 yen from Tuesday's 123.4090 yen. The euro rose to $1.0654 from $1.0645.