- Fed to release meeting minutes
- German trade surplus narrows
- France plans to cut taxes
- OECD unemployment rises
FTSE 100: 0.77%
CAC 40: 0.49%
FTSE MIB: 0.66%
IBEX 35: 053%
Stoxx 600: 0.52%
European stocks edged higher ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes from its last policy meeting.
The US central bank will later publish the minutes of its March 18-19th meeting, which may shed further light behind the decision to slash a further $10bn off monthly bond purchases.
Investors will also be looking more clues on interest rates after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said they might raise the benchmark rate in about six months after they end quantitative easing.
France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls has presented his plan to the French National Assembly to cut billions in taxes on lower income families and businesses.
For businesses, Valls proposed to undo a production tax on companies worth €6bn (£4.94bn) over the next three years. He also promised to cut the principal corporate tax rate starting in 2016. He pledged to help households with €5bn (£4.12bn) in tax cuts aimed mostly at low income workers.
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.
In Spain, an overwhelming majority in parliament pulled the rug out from Catalonia's request to hold a referendum on independence.
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.
Volkswagen and Porsche Automobil rise
Volkswagen and Porsche Automobil 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.
Kingfisher rallied as UBS raised its rating on the European home improvement company to 'buy' from 'neutral'.
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.
Wirecard climbed as it proposed a dividend and confirmed its 2014 earnings outlook.
The euro rose 0.03% to $1.3801.
Brent crude futures edged up $0.111 to $107.790 per barrel, according to the ICE.