- BoE and Fed to release meeting minutes
- Eurozone construction output data due
- Geopolitical crises escalate
FTSE 100: -0.14%
CAC 40: -0.06%
FTSE MIB: 0.06%
IBEX 35: 0.23%
Stoxx 600: 0.03%
European stocks were little changed at Wednesday's open ahead of the release of minutes from the latest meetings of the Bank of England (BoE) and Federal Reserve.
Markets will be closely watching the minutes to see if the central banks provide any clues as to when they will raise interest rates.
The BoE earlier in August decided to keep policy unchanged, holding interest rates at 0.5%. While an improvement in the UK economy has put pressure on the Bank to lift rates, Governor Mark Carney said wage growth remained weak.
The first rate hike is expected in the first quarter of 2015 and Carney has said raises would be gradual.
The Fed in July announced it would cut a further $10bn off monthly bond purchases and maintain interest rates at 0.25%. The US central bank has indicated that it sees no immediate need to lift rates, saying that the labour market still has room to grow.
"It's getting more and more difficult to predict what these central banks are going to do by assessing the data alone, so these minutes could provide crucial insight into the timing of the first rate hike from both central banks," said Alpari UK analyst Craig Erlam.
Aside from the minutes, the macro economic agenda will be thin on the ground with Eurozone construction output the only notable release.
Geopolitical tensions in Iraq, Gaza and Ukraine will continue to be monitored by investors. In the latest developments, fighting in Gaza resumed in violation of a ceasefire while Ukraine troops pushed out pro-Russian rebels from Donetsk and battles recommenced at Mosul Dam in northern Iraq.
Balfour Beatty rejects Carillion bid
Balfour Beatty retreated after the UK builder rejected an increased merger bid by Carillion.
Heineken gained after reporting first-half profit that beat analysts' estimates.
Carlsberg slumped after the brewer slashed its full-year earnings forecast, blaming deteriorating conditions in its Eastern Europe unit including
Russia, which contributes a large portion of its profits.
Glencore was a high riser after the miner posted a rise in first-half income that exceeded market forecasts.
The euro fell 0.22% to $1.3291.
Brent crude futures rose 0.25% to $101.82 per barrel, according to the ICE.