A look at the day ahead in U.S. and global markets from Mike Dolan With world markets partly frozen ahead of this week's U.S. inflation update, attention swung elsewhere from Cupertino to New Zealand.

But the prospect of U.S. economic growth coming in above 3% again in Q1 for the third quarter in a row is perhaps the big picture everyone needs to keep tabs on.

Even though weather-distorted data updates so far this year look mixed - not least a retreat in consumer confidence in February - the Atlanta Federal Reserve's real-time GDP tracker has climbed back up to 3.1% for the current quarter.

Fourth-quarter revisions due later on Wednesday should confirm real annualised growth at 3.3% late last year - and an inflation component of just 2% - and the heat looks to have been sustained into 2024.

And while the dramatic disinflation of last year will please the Fed, the ongoing pace of the expansion is forcing it to be patient in cutting rates while it monitors how still-punchy service sector inflation components are behaving.

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman was the latest to emphasize that as signalled she was in no rush to cut interest rates. "My baseline outlook continues to be that inflation will decline further with the policy rate held steady."

What's more puzzling is how an economy in such rude health hasn't done more for President Joe Biden's approval rates with November's White House election just over eight months away.

The latest monthly update on Tuesday of the rolling Reuters/IPSOS opinion poll showed as many as 58% Americans disapprove of the incumbent's performance. Some 39% of poll respondents said likely challenger Donald Trump had a better approach to the economy, compared to 33% who said Biden did.

Back on markets, stocks slipped around the world on Wednesday and Wall St futures were in the red.

Interest rate markets were relatively calm, with Treasury yields ticking slightly lower after a heavy week of new debt sales. Subdued oil prices - despite OPEC signals on extending supply curbs - helped the bond market mood.

The futures market now tallies with the idea that the Fed was correct in December when it signalled 75 basis points of rate cuts this year. The first cut is now not priced until July when - curiously - the Fed, European Central Bank and Bank of England are now all expected to embark on cuts within two weeks of each other.

Although the dollar was higher on Wednesday, the lockstep easing expectations have kept it contained in ranges and has subdued currency volatility gauges to two-year lows.

The dollar was helped overnight by surprisingly dovish soundings from New Zealand's central bank, with hit the kiwi dollar by almost 1%.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand held the cash rate steady at 5.5% and trimmed the forecast peak for rates, catching markets by surprise as policymakers said the risks to the inflation outlook have become more balanced.

In companies, Apple's stock price was firmed in Frankfurt trading after the firm cancelled work on its electric car after decade - concentrating on artificial intelligence projects instead.

Chinese markets slumped back 1%, with developer Country Garden saying a liquidation petition has been filed against it for non-payment of a $205 million loan, clouding its debt revamp prospects and undermining Beijing's effort to restore confidence in the property sector.

Key diary items that may provide direction to U.S. markets later on Wednesday: * U.S. Q4 GDP revision, Jan goods trade balance, Jan wholesale/retail inventories; Canada Q4 current account, Dec weekly earnings * New York Federal Reserve President John Williams, Boston Fed President Susan Collins and Atlanta Fed chief Raphael Bostic all speak; Bank of England policymaker Catherine Mann speaks * G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs meet in Sao Paulo to prepare for the annual presidential summit in November; G7 ministers meet on sidelines. * U.S. corp earnings: Paramount Global, Salesforce, HP, Monster Beverage, TJX, NRG, Viatris, Liberty Media, Icahn Enterprises etc

(By Mike Dolan, mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com; editing by David Evans)