World shares fell on Wednesday and the US dollar eased off three-week highs as market participants awaited a likely increase in USA interest rates and guidance on how many more to expect for this year.
The selloff wiped some US$50 billion off the value of social media giant Facebook, leaving investors on edge as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise USA rates for the first time this year.
The Fed is near certain to raise interest rates on Wednesday, the end of its two-day policy meeting.
Gains were however, limited as shares of Facebook extended their losses from Monday and fell 5.2% on reports that US Federal Trade.
Facebook shares gained 3 percent and provided some relief to the technology sector. Names sensitive to higher rates such as utilities.SPLRCU, down 0.39 percent, and real estate.SPLRCR, off 0.93 percent, were under pressure.
Few economists expect new Fed chair Jerome Powell to alter the trajectory of the bank's anticipated rate path, but as it is his first meeting at the helm, investors have been somewhat on edge as the meeting approaches.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.71 points, or 0.03 percent, to 24,734.98.
"So far, we have seen low-level (trade) skirmishes, which are not material enough to affect the world economy", said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments.
China, according to the Wall Street Journal, was planning counter-measures with tariffs aimed at USA agricultural exports from Farm Belt states.
The energy index.SPNY jumped 2.76 percent as crude oil prices hit a six-week high after a surprise decline in USA inventories and as concern persisted over possible disruption to Middle East supply. The yield was just one basis point higher on the day at 0.59%.
A pan-European equity index fell nearly 0.3 percent, its early weakness accelerating after the WSJ report on China and a tech shares index reversing an early bounce.
Crude oil hit a six-week high after a surprise decline in US inventories, strong compliance on OPEC production cuts, and persistent concern related to the Iran nuclear deal.
Fears of a trade war have also weighed on commodity prices, though tensions in the Middle East supported oil prices on Wednesday. In two bruising days, the social media company lost some $50 billion in market value over reports of data misuse that raised broader questions about consumer privacy and the need for tougher regulation.
Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet - members of the so-called FAANG group of stocks, along with Facebook - were down between 1.7 percent and 7.2 percent.