- European stocks steady on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious ahead of the minutes of both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve''s most recent policy meetings, to be released later in the day.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 slipped 0.20%, France’s CAC 40 eased up 0.01%, while Germany’s DAX 30 inched up 0.01%.

Investors were looking ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting later in the trading day, when the bank voted to cut its stimulus program by another $10 billion to $65 billion per month.

Earlier this month, Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank is on track to maintain the pace of reductions to its stimulus program, as long as the economy continues to improve as expected.

Financial stocks were mostly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale rose 0.34% and 0.44%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank gained 0.67%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo climbed 0.50%, although Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA underperformed, sliding 0.27% and 0.41% respectively.

Elsewhere, Lafarge surged 2.53% after the cement maker said fourth-quarter net income rose to 213 million from 83 million a year earlier, exceeding analysts'' estimates.

PSA Peugeot Citroen also added to gains, with shares up 8%, as the French carmaker agreed to bring in Dongfeng Motor and France as investors as part of a 5.27 billion rescue plan to fund new vehicles.

In London, FTSE 100 eased 0.02%, although losses were limited by Sports Direct, up 4.09%, as Britain''s biggest sporting goods retailer posted a 14.6% increase in profit in its Christmas quarter and said it was confident of hitting its full-year target.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower, with the Royal Bank of Scotland down 0.03% and Lloyds Banking shedding 0.33%, while Barclays dropped 0.65%. HSBC Holdings overperformed however, up 0.59%.

In the mining sector, stocks were also mostly lower. BHP Billiton lost 0.15% and Rio Tinto declined 0.42%, while Vedanta Resources plummeted 1.47%.

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 0.06% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.08% gain.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish reports on building permits, housing starts and producer price inflation.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger