- Eurozone consumer confidence edged higher
- FOMC minutes lie ahead
- Stocks recover from intra-day lows
FTSE 100: 0.28%
CAC 40: 0.37%
FTSE MIB: 1.07%
IBEX 35: 0.74%
Stoxx 600: 0.60%
European stocks bounced back from their intra-day lows on Wednesday in what was a largely uneventful day for markets, with the possible exception of the latest set of MPC minutes showing that "some" members now saw the debate surrounding the need to maintain the current loose monetary policy stance as "more balanced".
The BoE earlier this month voted unanimously to keep rates at a record low of 0.5% but the meeting notes showed the views of some members on increasing the benchmark were becoming "more balanced".
The central bank last week forecast that interest rates would rise in about a year's time, in line with its target of keeping inflation just below its 2% target.
However, some economists see the BoE tightening policy in less than a year, and the possibility of one or two members voting for higher interest rates within a few months.
Later on in the session, the US Federal Reserve will release minutes from its meeting a month ago when it pared bond purchases and said further tapering in measured steps was likely given the improvement in the job market and economy.
Charles Plosser, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve President, last night warned the current rate of tapering set forth by the Fed could be too slow if the US economy continues to recover as expected.
He said it could mean a rate hike would be necessary "sooner rather than later" as the US moved closer to its 2% inflation goal and as the labour market improved.
Plosser's counterpart in New York, William Dudley, on Tuesday said the Fed would raise rates only after "a considerable period of time" after the final asset purchase, which he anticipated would happen in the autumn.
In the UK, retail sales surged 7.7% in April compared to a year ago following a 4.9% rise a month earlier, beating analysts' expectations for a 5.2% increase.
The European Commission's survey on consumer confidence for the month of May edged higher to a reading of minus -7.1 from minus-8.6 last month, versus forecasts for a reading of -8.3.
Russia signs gas supply deal with China
Russia's state-run Gazprom has signed a 30-year gas supply deal with China on Wednesday after years of attempting to expand its reach to Asia.
According to media reports, the Russian gas giant finally reached a deal with the Chinese government although the price of the deal was not revealed.
A.P Moeller, Volvo
A.P. Moeller-Maersk advanced after Denmark's biggest company boosted its outlook for 2014 underlying profit.
Volvo dropped as the world's second-largest truckmaker said that truck deliveries in April fell 1% from a year earlier to 16,354 units.
Burberry gained after reporting record annual profit and revenue, driven by retail sales.
BNP Paribas retreated following reports that US authorities are seeking more than $5bn from the French bank to settle federal and state investigations into the lender's dealings with sanctioned countries including Sudan and Iran.
From a sector standpoint the best performance on the DJ Stoxx 600 was seen in the following industrial groups: Oil&Gas (1.20%), Technology (1.08%) and Insurance (1.01%).
Crude futures edge higher
The euro/dollar slipped 0.29% to $1.3661.
Brent crude futures edged higher by 0.724% to $110.49 per barrel on the ICE.