Asian equities looked set to rise on Wednesday, bouncing back from a steep sell-off on Tuesday, while Australian stocks were seen opening weaker in a catchup after a Tuesday holiday.
Higher markets in Europe and a slight decline from record stock levels in the United States overnight suggested that investors were cautious about possible roadblocks to a US stimulus plan and ahead of a policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.
Eyes are on Australian inflation figures due out later Wednesday, said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec in Sydney, who noted both equities and the Aussie dollar have been "on a tear." Aussie shares hit an 11-month high on Monday, "close to pre-Covid levels," he said.
The US Federal Reserve is due to announce results its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Analysts expect the Fed to stick to its dovish tone to help speed the economic recovery.
US stimulus talks are in focus, with US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying Democrats will move forward on President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief plan without Republican support if necessary.
European stocks rose on Tuesday as strong earnings from wealth manager UBS and auto parts maker Autoliv added to a string of upbeat corporate updates, while the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global growth in 2021.
US Treasury yields were mostly down in choppy trading overnight, after earlier hitting three-week lows on the long end of the curve, as investors remained cautious about the size of a proposed US stimulus package.
Benchmark 10-year notes were yielding 1.033%, compared with 1.04% late on Tuesday.
Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures lost 0.25% in early trading.
Japan's Nikkei 225 futures added 0.07%, while the Nikkei 225 index closed the overnight session %.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures rose 0.68%.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.21%.
The Australian dollar rose 0.05% versus the greenback at $0.775.
The US dollar edged lower across the board as traders showed a preference for riskier currencies. The dollar index fell 0.194%, with the euro up 0.02% to $1.2162.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.01% versus the greenback at 103.61 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3735, up 0.01% on the day.