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Dollar down ahead of new Fed chief's Jackson Hole speech

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Dollar down ahead of new Fed chief's Jackson Hole speech

? European shares edge up, dollar slides ahead of Fed chief speech.

? U.S.-China trade talks end with minimal progress.

? Australian dollar bounces as Prime Minister Turnbull departs.

? Futures point to Wall Street opening higher.

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The U.S. dollar weakened against a basket of major currencies and futures point to a higher opening for Wall Street ahead of Jerome Powell's first speech later today as Federal Reserve chairman at the annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The dollar spot index was down 0.25% as of 6:36 a.m. ET as investors await Powell's speech on "monetary policy in a changing economy." Ten-year Treasury yields were up 1 basis point at 2.841%.

"Markets will want to assess his view of the economy and whether his until now quite upbeat take will be distracted by emerging market and trade issues," wrote Martin van Vliet, senior rates strategist at ING, in a daily briefing, adding that while a September hike in the U.S. looks set in stone, "the further path looks more uncertain."

Earlier, two days of talks between the U.S. and China ended with little progress on dialing down trade tensions between the two nations, while U.S.-Mexico talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement will likely extend into next week amid unresolved issues, such as agreeing rules defining the market of origin for autos.

"While we expect U.S.-China tensions to persist over the medium term, a near-term de-escalation is possible," said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer for global wealth management at UBS. "We will be watching China's capital flows, foreign exchange reserves and high-frequency growth indicators closely to judge whether pressures on China could have a larger impact on global markets."

Asian markets closed mostly higher, with the Nikkei 225 index advancing 0.85% as the Japanese yen traded lower against the dollar. The Shanghai SE Composite index added 0.18% as China lifted foreign ownership limits on domestic banks and asset management firms. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.43%.

European markets began the day trading higher, with the Euro Stoxx 50 rising 0.40% and the FTSE 100 up 0.14%. Shares in Italian bank UniCredit SpA and France-based Société Générale SA are trading more than 1% higher following a report that UniCredit has hired an adviser for a potential merger with SocGen.

Ten-year yields on Italian government bonds were up nearly 4 basis points to 3.129% as Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that U.S. President Donald Trump offered Italy assistance to buy sovereign bonds after the European Central Bank's quantitative easing program ends in 2019.

The Australian dollar jumped 0.63% against its U.S. counterpart amid easing political uncertainty when the country's treasurer, Scott Morrison, became prime minister after a fresh leadership challenge toppled former leader Malcolm Turnbull. The South African rand was up 0.95%, recovering from recent slides triggered by Trump's remarks criticizing the country's land reform plans.

The euro advanced 0.37% as Germany's second-quarter economic growth showed an acceleration. The pound strengthened 0.35%.

Gold climbed 0.54% to $1,191.97 per ounce, but was still down about 9% year-to-date. Market observers are cautiously optimistic that central bank purchases will prop up or even spur a rebound in the U.S. dollar gold price, which touched a 20-month low in August.

Brent crude oil rose 1.27% to $75.68 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

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The day ahead:

8:30 a.m. ET — U.S. durable goods orders (Econoday consensus: -0.8% MOM new orders)

1 p.m. ET — U.S. Baker-Hughes rig count