- Putin says Crimea will re-join Russia
- German investor confidence falls
- Federal Reserve policy meeting begins
FTSE 100: 0.24%
CAC 40: 1.00%
FTSE MIB: 0.90%
IBEX 35: 0.88%
Stoxx 600: 0.50%
European stocks rebounded from this morning's slump after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hopes to rebuild ties with Ukraine.
Putin's comments today came as Russia moved closer to officially welcoming Crimea as a sovereign state.
About 97% of the Crimean population voted to leave Ukraine and re-join Russia in a referendum on Sunday, according to officials.
Putin has now informed parliament formally of Crimea's request to join the country and has approved a draft bill on the accession.
Speaking at a press conference today, he said Crimea was "handed over like a sack of potatoes" when the region left Russia to join Ukraine in 1954.
"We had a feeling of being robbed like Crimea had been stolen from us," he said.
"It was such as historical unfairness at that moment Crimea was handed over to Ukraine but now all of this is in the past."
Moving forward he said he hopes to mend the rapport with Ukraine as good relationship with its neighbour is "vitality important".
He said the first step was to tackle politics that were undermining the Crimeans.
The European Union and US have said the referendum was illegal and imposed sanctions on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine.
German investor confidence
German investor confidence fell to the lowest since August as political turmoil between Ukraine and Russia threatened to weigh on Europe's biggest economy.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to forecast economic developments six months in advance, slid to 46.6 from 55.7 in February. Economists had predicted a reading of 52.
It came despite German economic growth of 0.4% in the fourth quarter that beat analysts' estimates.
ZEW blamed the Crimea crisis weighing on the economic expectations of the survey participants.
The research institute's economic sentiment index for the Eurozone fell to 61.5 in March from 68.5 a month earlier.
Meanwhile, later on in the US the Federal Reserve will kick off its two-day policy meeting. The central bank is expected to announce a further tapering on monetary stimulus when the meeting concludes tomorrow.
Acting as a backdrop, will be the release of US inflation figures and housing starts this afternoon.
Resolution edged lower as the British life insurer after announcing plans to change its name to Friends Life.
Kuoni advanced as the Swiss travel company posted 2013 profit that beat analysts' forecasts.
Scania slumped as a board committee reviewing Volkswagen's takeover offer said the bid was too low.
Sainsbury declined after the UK supermarket said sales at stores open at least a year fell 3.1%, excluding fuel, in the 10 weeks ended March 15th.
The euro fell 0.06% to $1.3913.
Brent crude futures rose $0.310 to $106.570 per barrel, according to the ICE.