Investors were erring on the side of caution on Thursday in London, as stocks and US stocks were mixed ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium which runs from later on Thursday and Friday.
The meeting of the world's central bankers should give investors a read on policy going forward, and attitudes to the economy in light of COVID-19 Delta variant caseloads.
Inequality, recovery from the pandemic and climate change will also be in focus.
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"Despite the fact that many are anticipating remarks by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on [tapering stimulus], it is very unlikely that he will make any market-moving declarations at this meeting," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.
"Because of the recent softening in economic growth, the Fed has already indicated that it may begin tapering before the end of 2021. Having said that, investors should anticipate a cautious tone from policymakers at this meeting."
In Asia, the Nikkei (^N225), Hang Seng (^HSI) and SSE Composite (000001.SS) all wavered overnight. The Nikkei was almost flat, while Hong Kong's main index fell 1.7% and the SSE composite was down 1.1%.
The moves lower came following a rate cut by South Korea's central bank.
"South Korea is the first developed country to embark on the unavoidable tightening of monetary policy," said Aslam.
"The Bank of Korea's policy rate has risen by 25 basis points to 0.75%. The likely cause of the hawks taking control is the worsening of the economy as a result of a ramp up in coronavirus cases."
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