The rally in global equities took a breather on Wednesday while the dollar hovered near its 2009 lows with two major central banks' policy meetings and key U.S. labor data looming.

Oil and copper prices also lost a bit of steam after recent gains, which were sparked by mounting optimism about a global economic recovery.

U.S. crude retreated from highs above $72 a barrel to $71.10 and copper edged off a 10-month peak of $6,149.00 a tonne to $6,110.00.

While the European Central Bank and Bank of England are widely expected to keep interest rates at record lows of 1.0 percent and 0.5 percent respectively on Thursday, investors are keen to see if both central banks will sound more upbeat about the outlook and whether further stimulus measures will be added.

MSCI's main world stock index edged down 0.2 percent, having scaled a 10-month peak the previous session and gaining nearly 60 percent since hitting a trough in March.

European shares were little changed with the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top regional shares up 0.1 percent. Earlier, Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 1.2 percent.

The market continues to be in a phase of cooling down a bit and the clear focus today will be on macroeconomic data in the United States later in the day, said Commerzbank's chief strategist, Hans-Juergen Delp.

Company earnings only seem to play a vital role when they massively exceed or miss expectations, he said.

Economic reports and corporate earnings continued to bolster expectations that the global recession is past its worst phase.

AXA , Europe's second-biggest insurer by market capitalization and French bank Societe Generale posted results that beat forecasts, sending their share prices up more than 4 percent.

A closely-watched survey showed the deep recession in the euro zone services economy had eased in July, although firms cut jobs faster than previously thought.

Ahead of the U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday, investors will get a reading of U.S. private sector employment as well as the U.S. services sector for July later in the day.


The dollar was steady against a basket of major currencies having plumbed a 10-month low this week as improving risk appetite drove investors in search of higher yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar.

Data today has the capability to spur a spike lower, but we suspect it will be difficult to extend things in a sustained way with key events such as meetings at the BoE and ECB, and non-farm payrolls looming, said Daragh Maher, deputy head of global foreign exchange strategy at Calyon.

Instead, the market would likely prefer a pause and some consolidation before embarking on a renewed attempt to drive new levels.

The dollar index <.DXY> was a touch lower on the day at 77.706. Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.3 percent to 94.95 yen, while the euro eased 0.4 percent to 136.66 yen. The euro was down 0.1 percent versus the dollar at $1.4391.

Lower-risk assets such as government bonds perked up, driving yields slightly lower.

The euro zone's benchmark 10-year Bund yield shed 0.3 basis points on the day to 3.328 percent, while the equivalent U.S. yield slid 0.2 basis points to 3.669 percent.

(Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt, editing by Mike Peacock)