World stocks were steady to weaker on Wednesday, trading off the previous session's 3-month high, while government bonds firmed as news of job cuts at Swiss bank UBS and weak data fanned economic concerns. UBS
Grim economic data also encouraged investors to take a pause after a month-long rally took world stocks to their highest level since January on Tuesday.
Surprisingly weak U.S. retail sales data was followed by a Chinese local media report that China's economy probably grew at its slowest annual rate on record in Q1.
As a result, European shares see-sawed while U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly firmer open on Wall Street later.
There is a feeling out there nobody is quite sure which way everything is going to go at the moment, said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners.
We are see-sawing from one set of statistics to another. They will be bad, they will be good. The market will just follow that. The trend remains uncertain.
MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> was down 0.15 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> was unchanged on the day.
Compounding the corporate gloom, Dutch chip equipment maker ASML
Wall Street fell on Tuesday as fears grew that Goldman Sachs'
More bank news will be coming along this week and the risk now looms to the downside, given the better news already priced in, Societe Generale said in a note to clients.
Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF> fell 0.2 percent, having hit a six-month peak on Tuesday.
U.S. crude oil rose 2 percent to $50.39 a barrel.
The June bund futures rose 38 ticks to hit their highest level in almost two weeks.
The low-yielding yen erased early gains to fall half a percent to 99.35 per dollar. The euro lost 0.2 percent to $1.3228. The dollar <.DXY> rose 0.15 percent against a basket of major currencies.
(Additional reporting by Dominic Lau; editing by Chris Pizzey)