- FOMC releases meeting minutes
- BoE unveils interest rate minutes
- US retail sales to be released
FTSE 100: -0.22%
CAC 40: -0.12%
FTSE MIB: 0.18%
IBEX 35: -0.26%
Stoxx 600: -0.11%
European stocks declined as investors waited on the release of meeting minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and Bank of England (BoE).
The FOMC's minutes should shed light behind the Federal Reserve's decision last month to keep interest rates near zero and its monthly $85bn bond buying programme unchanged.
Markets have been speculating over when the Fed might begin tapering quantitative easing, with most economists predicted a March 2014 start.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who steps down in January, last night said the US economy is growing stronger but failed to offer any hints as to when the central bank would start scaling back stimulus.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans also spoke last night, saying that the Fed may buy a total of $1.5trn in bonds in a programme that started in January 2013 to ensure steady employment gains.
He said the Fed should be careful not to prematurely reduce bond purchases, saying he would rather "wait just a little bit longer" until it's certain labour market improvements are sustainable.
Vice Chair Janet Yellen will face a Senate Banking Committee vote on Thursday for nomination as the new Chair to succeed Bernanke.
Today, the US will also turn to data on retail sales, manufacturing inventories and mortgage applications to gauge the health of the world's biggest economy.
Retail sales are "extremely important for the US economy and therefore have the potential to create big moves in the markets", according to Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari.
Analysts expect a 0.1% increase in retail sales in October.
In the UK today, the BoE releases minutes of its interest rate decision. The central bank last month announced it would keep interest rates at 0.5% and asset purchases at £375bn.
Investors will be looking to see if the BoE has shown any signs that policy makers favour a new unemployment threshold.
Diageo declined after Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes said uncertainties in the global economy will hurt sales growth for the world's biggest distiller.
Serco Group slumped following reports that the British government services company withdrew from a bid to handle UK military purchasing.
Societe Television Francaise advanced after France beat the Ukraine to advance to the next year's soccer World Cup.
Euro weakens against dollar
The euro fell 0.04% to $1.3532.
Brent crude futures rose $0.233 to $107.170 per barrel on the ICE.