NEW YORK - The dollar slid and the three-day global stock market rally paused on Wednesday as U.S. productivity data disappointed and investors turned a bit cautious about U.S.-China trade talks.
MSCI's All Country World Index, a gauge of equity performance in 47 countries, was marginally higher at 0.02% after rallying 1.3% since Friday.
Stocks on Wall Street slid and benchmark U.S. Treasury prices gained following a three-day sell-off. U.S. Government data showed American workers were unexpectedly less productive during the third quarter.
Equity markets have rallied on a reduced recession outlook and optimism a "phase one" U.S.-China trade deal can be reached this month and as global business surveys indicate tariff-hit manufacturing sentiment has troughed.
France's benchmark 10-year bond yield turned positive for the first time since July, a further sign that pessimism is abating in world bond markets.
Investors said lingering concerns about the U.S.-China trade talks had stock markets consolidating gains made over the last three sessions.
"What you saw over the last two days is a bit of confusion on the China phase one deal ... and that started affecting risk appetite," said Juan Perez, a senior currency trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.
Traders and investors hope a preliminary deal will roll back at least some of the punitive tariffs Washington and Beijing have imposed on each other's goods, but it remained uncertain when or where U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign the agreement.
European stocks edged higher, boosted by gains in financial stocks as investors assessed a mixed bag of earnings reports.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was higher by 0.12%. Britain's FTSE 100 index was flat, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were up 0.15% and 0.25%, respectively. each.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11.1 points, or 0.04%, to 27,481.53. The S&P 500 lost 1.05 points, or 0.03%, to 3,073.57 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 32.93 points, or 0.39%, to 8,401.75.
The U.S. Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, fell at a 0.3% annualised rate in the third quarter, the biggest decline in almost four years.
Data in Europe showed signs of economic improvement.
German industrial orders rose more than expected in September, offering some hope for manufacturers in Europe's biggest economy after a tough spell.
Euro zone business activity expanded slightly faster than expected last month but remained close to stagnation, according to a survey.
In currencies, the dollar index fell 0.08%, with the euro down 0.01% to $1.1073. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.13% versus the greenback at 109.02 per dollar.
Oil prices fell,, reversing some gains of the previous three sessions, after a surprisingly large build in U.S. crude inventories and weak euro zone economic figures.
Brent crude was down 14 cents at $62.82 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 13 cents at $57.10.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 10/32 in price to push their yield down to 1.8318%.