Stocks ended on a slightly down note amid talk of 'profit-taking' and 'sector rotation' as investors adjusted their portfolios in anticipation of tax cuts and tighter monetary policy on the other side of the Pond, alongside caution towards the outlook for growth in China and heavy selling on the Japanese and Hong Kong bourses.
Wall Street is little changed as traders continued to play it safe ahead of Friday's monthly non-farm payrolls numbers and the following week's US Federal Reserve policy meeting.
US gasoline stockpiles built sharply during the latest reference week, resulting in a sharp drop in crude oil inventories.
Steinhoff International shares plummeted on Wednesday as its chief executive officer Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect amid "accounting irregularities", while the release of the company's 2017 numbers has been postponed.
US labor costs slipped unexpectedly during the third quarter, as wages grew more slowly than anticipated.
Analysts continued to warm towards stocks last month but based on past experience their overall level of optimism was still consistent with further gains in shares, strategists at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said.
Private sector employment in the US rose more than expected in November, according to data released by ADP on Wednesday.
Markets in Asia fell sharply on Wednesday after a losing day on Wall Street overnight, as the Tokyo benchmark slid almost 2%.
US futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with tech stocks likely to drag on the Nasdaq again as investors eyed the latest ADP employment report.
Strong domestic demand and from outside the single currency bloc boosted German factory orders last month.
Wall Street finished on a downbeat note on Tuesday, as traders digest weaker-than-expected readings on service sector activity and foreign trade while scanning the headlines for news regarding the US tax reform proposals, which were making their way through Congress.