- Fed to release meeting minutes
- Italy lowers growth forecast
- France reveals tax cuts
- German trade surplus narrows
- Greece launches bond sale
FTSE 100: 0.68%
CAC 40: 0.40%
FTSE MIB: 0.23%
IBEX 35: 005%
Stoxx 600: 0.37%
European stocks gained before the Federal Reserve releases minutes from last month's policy meeting.
The minutes of the US central bank's March 18-19th meeting will provide more details behind the decision to cut back on monthly bond purchases by a further $10bn.
At the time Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the bank might raise the benchmark rate in about six months after they wrap up quantitative easing.
Italy lowers growth forecast
Italy's new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has lowered the country's growth forecasts for 2014 to 0.8% from the 1.1% estimate late last year by the previous left-right coalition led by Enrico Letta.
France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls presented his plan to the French National Assembly to cut billions in taxes on lower income families and businesses.
In Germany, the trade surplus narrowed to €15.5bn in February from a revised €17.3bn a month earlier as imports rose and exports fell.
The UK's external trade deficit in goods and services decreased slightly in February to £2.1bn from £2.2bn in the month before, driven by a fall in imports.
Greece will sell five-year bonds in the nation's first long-term debt sale since its international bailout began four years ago.
Meanwhile, unemployment increased in February for the member countries of the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD), data showed today.
The OECD jobless rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 7.6%, ending three consecutive months of declines.
Wirecard climbed as it proposed a dividend and confirmed its 2014 earnings outlook.
Kingfisher rallied as UBS raised its rating on the European home improvement company to 'buy' from 'neutral'.
Volkswagen and Porsche Automobile Holding advanced after Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. raised its ratings on both stocks to 'outperform' from 'market perform', citing the potential for a recovery in Europe and cheaper valuation multiples relative to rival Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.
Chr. Hansen Holding surged as the maker of dairy enzymes reiterated its full-year outlook despite second-quarter earnings missing forecasts.
Arseus slumped after its largest shareholder, Waterland Private Equity Investments, sold its entire 27% stake in the Belgian supplier of dental equipment.
Indesit jumped following reports Whirlpool Corp. may offer to buy the Italian maker of ovens and fridges.
Norsk Hydro gained as US peer Alcoa posted better-than-expected first-quarter profit and said it sees demand for global aluminium rising 7% this year.
The euro rose 0.19% to $1.3823.
Brent crude futures edged up $0.084 to $107.760 per barrel, according to the ICE.