Phone maker Nokia continued to sink in overseas trading, and stocks drifted lower across the world as investors decided to wait out the next round of economic data.
U.S. stock futures edged slightly lower, with Dow futures down 0.1 per cent at 12,540 and S&P 500 futures 0.1 per cent lower at 1,342.50.
Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 per cent to 5,979.15, France's CAC 40 was little changed at 4,004.67, and Germany's DAX fell 0.2 per cent to 7,281.08.
One of the most dramatic moves came from Nokia stock, which plunged 10 per cent to its lowest in 13 years. Its dive followed an 18-per cent decline the previous day, and analysts slashed their price targets on the stock.
Nomura cut its price target to 4.00 euros from 4.75 euros and kept its "reduce" recommendation. J.P. Morgan also cut its price target on the shares to 4.25 euros from 5 euros, while Credit Suisse cut its target to 4 euros from 5.5 euros after Nokia said on Tuesday that mobile phone sales in the second quarter would be "substantially below" its previous forecast and abandoned its full-year outlook, blaming difficult conditions in China and Europe.
Currency markets were also subdued, with the euro down 0.1 percent at $1.4413 (U.S.). The loonie rose to $1.0332 against the greenback.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to close at 9,719.61 after Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said that supply and electricity disruptions caused by the March earthquake and tsunami were easing and the economy could stage a moderate recovery starting in the second half of fiscal 2011.
South Korea's Kospi index slipped less than 0.1 percent to 2,141.34 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index drifted 0.2 percent lower to 23,626.43.
Crude oil was down 10 cents to $102.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a $2 gain on Tuesday.
Gold eased, for a second day, down 0.2 percent at $1,531.99 an ounce. Silver slipped half a percent to $38.11.
British manufacturing activity grew at its slowest pace in 20 months in May, and mortgage approvals unexpectedly fell to their lowest since December.
Portugal paid a record interest rate in an auction of three-month Treasury bills as investors continue to worry about the country's economic health. The yield in Wednesday's sale of 850-million euros was 4.967 percent, compared with 4.657 percent for eight-week bills two weeks ago.