European stocks moved lower on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious ahead of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due later in the day.
During European morning trade, the fell 0.26%, France’s declined 0.61%, while Germany’s slipped 0.25%.
Market participants were waiting for the minutes of the Fed’s September policy meeting for hints on the central bank’s future policy moves, as the odds for a December rate hike passed the 70% threshold on Tuesday.
Energy stocks were broadly higher, as French oil and gas major Total SA (PA:) advanced 0.77% and Italy’s ENI (MI:) climbed 0.82%, while Nowegian rival Statoil(OL:) gained 0.58%.
Financial stocks were also on the upside, as French lender Societe Generale (PA:) rose 0.30% in France, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank (DE:) and Commerzbank (DE:) added 0.30% and 0.77%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:) and Unicredit (MI:) gained 0.51% and 1.15% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MC:) and BBVA (MC:) climbed 0.45% and 0.60%.
Lufthansa AG VNA O.N. (DE:) added to gains, with shares up 4.49% after analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux raised their price target for the stock.
On the downside, Ericsson (ST:) saw shares dove 15.02% after the telecom company issued a profit warning.
In London, slipped 0.14%, led by Old Mutual PLC (LON:), whose shares plummeted 1.37% following reports the insurer has had approaches from possible buyers of Old Mutual Wealth, its UK operation which analysts value at £3 billion to £4 billion.
Financial stocks were also lower, as Barclays (LON:) edged down 0.17% and HSBC Holdings (LON:) slid 0.31%, while Lloyds Banking (LON:) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:) dropped 0.48% and 0.50% respectively.
Mining stocks added to losses on the commodity-heavy index. Shares in Glencore (LON:) declined 0.54% and Anglo American (LON:) retreated 0.78%, while rival BHP Billiton (LON:) lost 0.89%.
On the upside, shares in easyJet (LON:) surged 2.33% after the low-cost airline said on Tuesday that it plans to strengthen its existing bases in Germany before considering expansion at other airports such as Frankfurt.
Being the biggest airline at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport and the third biggest at Hamburg, easyJet currently has a market share of around 3% of air traffic in Germany.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The pointed to a 0.20% fall, showed a 0.18% slip, while the indicated a 0.24% loss.