In US economic data, wholesale inventories lifted 0.1 per cent in July, well below expectations of a 0.5 per cent lift. Wholesale sales were up 0.7 per cent. The lower-than-expected inventory build-up should have a negative impact on US September quarter growth.
European shares ended flat to weaker on Wednesday on worries over Scotland's vote on independence and growing expectations of a more hawkish stance from the US Federal Reserve. The FTSEurofirst 300 index ended flat with the German Dax down 0.1 per cent while the UK FTSE was also flat. Australia's major miners were weaker in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton down 0.5 per cent while Rio Tinto fell 0.3 per cent.
US sharemarkets were higher in afternoon trade on Wednesday, helped by a rebound in Apple's stock. Apple shares lifted 2.5 per cent, one day after releasing the iPhone 6, boosting the Nasdaq and S&P 500. Energy stocks led the declines. The Dow Jones index rose 55 points or 0.3 per cent. The broader S&P 500 index rose 0.4 per cent while the Nasdaq rose 34 points or 0.8 per cent.
US treasury prices fell on Wednesday (yields higher) as investors speculated that the Federal Reserve could decide to lift interest rates earlier than expected. US two-year yields rose by one point to 0.57 per cent while US 10-year yields rose by three points to 2.54 per cent.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar over the European and US sessions on Wednesday. The euro fell from highs near $US1.2960 to about $US1.2890 before settling at $US1.2910 at the end of the US session. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US91.65c to lows near US91.10c before ending the US session near US91.50c. And the Japanese yen held between ¥106.35 per US dollar and ¥106.85, ending US trade near ¥106.80.
World oil prices fell to an eight-month low on Wednesday as OPEC cuts demand forecasts. Saudi Arabia announced it has cut oil output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd). OPEC expects a crude supply surplus of more than one million bpd in 2015. Brent crude fell by $US1.12 or 1.1 per cent to $US98.04 a barrel with the US Nymex price ending $US1.08 a barrel higher at $US91.67 a barrel.
Base metal prices were mixed on Wednesday, with copper prices managing to eke out a 0.5 per cent gain although still remaining near a one-month low. Nickel lost 1 per cent after the run of recent gains. Gold prices fell on Wednesday with the Comex gold futures quote down $US3.20 an ounce or 0.3 per cent to $US1,245.30 per ounce. The iron ore price fell $US1 or 1.2 per cent to $US82.20 a tonne.
Ahead: In Australia, employment data is released. In the US, no economic data is released. Chinese inflation data is released.