- US to vote on Syria military action
- Eurozone grows modestly
- US trade deficit widens
- Fed's Beige Book to provide economic snapshot
FTSE 100: 0.08%
CAC 40: 0.14%
FTSE MIB: -1.36%
IBEX 35: 0.56%
Stoxx 600: 0.17%
European equities were little changed as the US prepared to vote on a resolution for military action in Syria and as data showed modest growth in the Eurozone.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee laid out a deal on Tuesday evening that would set a 60-day deadline for military action in Syria, with one 30-day extension possible, according to a draft of the resolution.
The proposal, drafted by senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, would also stop involvement of US ground forces in Syria.
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday gained backing from Speaker John A. Boehner and House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, for intervention in Syria.
It paved the way for wider approval in Congress when they vote on September 9th.
Speaking in Sweden on Wednesday, Obama said the credibility of the US is on the line over their response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians on August 21st.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US and its allies against taking one-sided action in Syria, saying any military strike without United Nations approval would be an "aggression".
Investors are worried any strike would put a strain on America's relationship with Syria's allies Russia and China.
"Thus, investors should look out for any signs of volatility until at least the September 9th when the US congress reconvenes and the markets receive more information as to officials' intentions towards Syria," said Spreadex Financial Trader, Shavaz Dhalla.
Eurozone GDP rises
Second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) in the euro-area rose 0.3% from the previous quarter, in line with expectations, a Eurostat report said.
Separately, Eurostat said July's volume of retail trade in the euro area rose a modest 0.1% on the month, even as June's reading was revised downwards to a 0.7% fall. Analysts had expected month-on-month growth of 0.4%.
Eurozone services activity expanded in August, according to Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) which increased to 50.7 last month from 49.8 in July. It came in below estimates for a final reading of 51 but above the 50 level that signals growth.
In the UK, Markit's Services PMI climbed to 60.5 last month from 60.2 in July, the highest level since December 2006, as new business growth reached a record high. Economists expected a reading of 59.
The data comes ahead of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank's interest rate decision announcements on Thursday. The central banks are expected to keep interest rates on hold.
US trade deficit widens
The US trade deficit widened more than expected in July by 13.3% to $39.1bn from $34.5bn in June, the Commerce Department revealed, as imports rose and exports fell.
It came ahead of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, the central bank's regional economic snapshot.
The report will offer some insight into how policymakers view the current economic environment before the central bank's highly anticipated September 17th to 18th policy meeting.
The Fed is expected to start reducing its $85bn per month in bond purchases at its meeting this month so long as the economy and unemployment improves enough.
Ryanair and easyJet shares
Ryanair fell to lead travel and leisure stocks lower after the budget carrier said full-year profit would be at the lower end of its forecast range of €570m to €600m.
easyJet also slipped along with an index of travel and leisure companies which dropped 2.5% on the Stoxx 600.
Iliad SA tumbled after the French mobile carrier's founder Xavier Niel sold a 3% stake valued at about €320m.
ProSiebenSat.1 declined following reports KKR and Permira are selling a stake valued at more than €760m through holding company Lavena.
Ingenico SA gained after Goldman Sachs upgraded the French provider of payment terminals and services to 'buy' from 'neutral', citing profit growth.
SAS Group advanced as the Nordic region's largest airline beat its profitability target in its fiscal third quarter.
Brent crude declines
Brent crude futures were down $0.2560 to $115.360 per barrel on the ICE.
The euro was up 0.34% to the 1.3215 US dollar.