Shares open slightly higher on Wall Street, led by gains in healthcare and technology companies.
UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest USA health insurer, rose 2.8% as it affirmed its full-year outlook for 2020 adjusted earnings.
The Final Word: Despite the grim outlook, USA banks got off to a mostly positive start to earnings season. Earlier, technology shares sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index to records.
The Dow Jones Industrials picked up 41.38 points to 28,865.15. The Nasdaq Composite gained 2.43 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 9,253.76 at the opening bell. Citigroup Inc rose 1.6% as it topped Wall Street profit estimates.
USA stocks dipped on Tuesday, reversing earlier intraday record highs, following a report that the United States would likely maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until after November's presidential election. In Germany, the DAX lost 0.2% to 13,431 after new figures showed that the country's economy grew only 0.6% last year, the weakest in years.More news: 'Living robot' developed by scientists using frog embryos
Shares withdrew in Asia on Wednesday as conflicting reports raised concerns about the likely outcome of a trade agreement to be signed by the U.S. and China. Beijing will also step up its purchases of USA farm products and other goods.
"The only way the president will lower the rates is if there is a" Phase 2 "part of the agreement that is also fully enforceable", Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox News.
China has pledged to buy almost an additional $80 billion of manufactured goods from the United States over the next two years, and over $50 billion more in energy supplies, Reuters reported, citing a source briefed on the Phase 1 trade deal.
It is unclear if the deal to be signed on Wednesday takes such issues into account. Analysts said the choppy trading session reflects worries about lofty U.S. stock valuations following the market's surge since October. In South Korea, kospi dropped 0.4% to 2,230.98.
Large-cap stocks were mostly lower, with the S&P 500 Index (SPY) edging down 0.2% to 3,282.93. Shares also fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Also reaching a record high, Google-owner Alphabet Inc added 0.8 per cent, bringing its market capitalisation to $US993 billion ($A1.4 trillion).More news: Jay-Z Sues Mississippi Jail Authorities Over Out of Line Conditions
President Donald Trump and China's chief negotiator Liu He are scheduled to sign a modest trade pact on Wednesday, calling on the United States to ease some sanctions against China. Ahead of the signing, the U.S. Treasury Department dropped the U.S. designation of Beijing as a currency manipulator.
The trade deal may only mark a "detente" in trade tensions, said Stephen Innes of AxiTrader.
Many investors, however, are already looking ahead to a potentially rosier earnings outlook once Washington and China resolve their trade dispute.
FactSet cautioned that S&P 500 fourth quarter profits were expected to fall 2% on a year-over-year basis. The stock broke above $500 for the first time ever in early trading.
Benchmark crude oil rose 15 cents to settle at $58.23 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the worldwide standard, dropped 78 cents to close at $64.20 a barrel. It gained 29 cents on Tuesday to $64.49 a barrel.More news: Springsteen's son joins Jersey City Fire Department
Gold rallied to $ 7.10 at $ 1,551.70 an ounce.