Equities tread water ahead of trade talks
London's main FTSE 100 share index snapped a three-day winning streak as Boris Johnson took over as the new British prime minister.
Mining heavyweights dragged London's main index lower on Wednesday, as iron ore prices fell after miner Vale prepared to resume operations at its Vargem Grande complex, while luxury carmaker Aston Martin plunged after cutting annual targets.
The FTSE 100 inched lower, lagging most of the global markets, where signs of progress in the US-China trade talks lifted sentiments.
Exporters also weighed on the index, as sterling steadied, having fallen in the last session.
Dublin shares were mixed, as the main Iseq index recovered from early falls and there was no clear pattern to trading.
US stocks also fluctuated between gains and losses as investors mulled weak economic data and mixed corporate results, including an unexpected quarterly loss for Boeing.
Treasuries advanced, along with bonds in Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower for the first time this week in the wake of the US opening an antitrust probe into big technology companies, and Caterpillar projected 2019 earnings at the low end of forecasts. On the positive side, UPS exceeded its profit guidance.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fluctuated after euro-region manufacturing gauges fell short of economists' estimates.
"The Fed backdrop is providing some cushion so to speak," Nancy Perez, senior portfolio manager at Boston Private Wealth, said.
"It would be very healthy to trade sideways here and digest the earnings, digest trade policy. The global PMIs are in contraction territory; they're below 50. So the question is will they stabilise and start to rebound?"
The dollar declined for the first time in four days ahead
of today's European Central Bank meeting.
Most European bonds climbed, sending yields across the continent to unprecedented lows, as disappointing manufacturing data added to concerns about the region's growth outlook.
Crude oil advanced for a
fourth session, trading around $57 a barrel in New York.