Shares slid Wednesday in Europe after a day of gains in Asia as attention turned to minutes from the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve. U.S. stock index futures fell in pre-market trading, following a sell-off on Tuesday.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX slipped 0.5 percent to 12,432.70 and the CAC 40 of France lost 0.5 percent to 5,265.04. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent to 7,234.56. Dow futures edged 0.1 percent lower to 24,933.00 and S&P 500 futures also were down 0.1 percent at 2,712.50, pointing to losses on the open in New York.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.2 percent to 21,970.81 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.8 percent to 31,431.89. Australia's S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,943.70 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.6 percent to 2,429.65. India's Sensex gained 0.3 percent to 33,801.94 while shares in Southeast Asia were mixed. Markets in mainland China were closed for a final day of lunar new year holidays.
WALL STREET: Walmart's stock sank 10 percent on Tuesday, its biggest drop in 30 years, after the retailer reported fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street's expectations as its e-commerce sales in the U.S. slowed. The late sell-off erased early gains led by technology companies. Grocery store operators, retailers, health care companies and industrial stocks accounted for much of the market's slide.
FED WATCH: Investors have been bracing for signs the U.S. central bank might tighten monetary policy in minutes from its Jan. 30-31 policy meeting due out Wednesday. Jitters over inflation remain after the spate of volatility earlier this month.
BONDS LOOMING: Adding to the risks, the rising yield on the 10-year Treasury, which is used as a benchmark for mortgages and other loans, is making bonds more appealing than stocks. It has been rising in recent months from a low of 2.04 percent in September. On Wednesday it was at 2.89 percent. "Some of the broader concerns on investors' minds right now are looking across to the bond market and seeing the 10-year Treasury starting to approach that 3 percent level," said Bill Northey, vice president at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
JAPAN MANUFACTURING: Preliminary results from a survey of manufacturers in February showed indicators at their strongest level since early 2014. The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers index) was at 54 on a 0-100 scale where reading exceeding 50 indicate expansion. Job creation hit an 11-year high. "Export growth slowed from January's peak but remained solid," Bernard Aw, principle economist for IHS Markit said in the report.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 67 cents to $61.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 24 cents to settle at $61.79 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 72 cents to $64.53 per barrel. It gained 42 cents to close at $65.25 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.64 yen from 107.33 yen on Tuesday. The euro slipped to $1.2316 from $1.2337.