Investing.com - European stocks were lower on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve''s monthly policy statement, expected later in the day, while markets continued to monitor developments between Russia and Ukraine.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.26%, France’s CAC 40 slid 0.36%, while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.10%.
The U.S. central bank was widely expected to continue to roll back its bond purchasing program by $10 billion at the conclusion of its monthly meeting later Wednesday, the first with Janet Yellen at the helm.
Market sentiment had strengthened on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia isn''t seeking "a partition of Ukraine", signaling that Russia''s moves in Ukraine would be limited.
The comments came during a speech to a joint session of parliament in Moscow, a day after the president recognized the results of Sunday''s referendum in Crimea, which saw a majority of voters chose to split from Ukraine.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale declined 0.85% and 0.23%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank jumped 1.17%.
Among peripheral lenders, Unicredit dropped 0.42% and Intesa Sanpaolo added 0.22% in Italy, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA lost 0.58% and 0.65% respectively.
Elsewhere, Inditex surged 3.13% after the Spanish retailer reported rising revenue in the first six weeks of the fiscal year and said it will start online sales in additional markets.
Brenntag, the world’s largest distributor of chemicals, saw shares slip 0.07% after saying it will propose a three-for-one stock split at its annual general meeting on June 17.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 shed 0.34%, weighed by losses in the mining sector.
Shares in Vedanta Resources and Rio Tinto declined 0.36% and 0.72% respectively, while Glencore Xstrata tumbled 1.66% and Antofagasta plunged 4.50%.
Meanwhile, Ophir Energy dove 19.09% after saying drilling operations at its Padouck Deep-1 well offshore Gabon yielded no significant amount of hydrocarbons. Chief Executive Officer Nick Cooper said in a statement that the failure was "disappointing."
Financial stocks were also mostly lower, as Lloyds Banking dipped 0.04% and HSBC Holdings retreated 0.87%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland lost 0.67%.
Barclays overperformed however, up 0.96%, amid reports the U.K. lender will seek offers in the next month for its Index, Portfolio and Risk Solutions unit in a sale that could fetch $400 million.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.02% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.01% downtick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.10% gain.
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