European stocks mark time as investors stay focused on Fed decision
By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
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European stocks wavered Wednesday, with investors seeming to hold off before the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision, even as they assessed deal news from Thyssenkrupp and other corporate updates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down less than 1 point at 382.01, with utility, financial and tech stocks lower. Telecoms, consumer services and health care were among the advancing sectors. On Tuesday, the pan-European benchmark closed up 0.1%. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-slip-as-traders-wait-for-fed-rate-update-2017-09-19)
Most major European indexes were little changed before the highly anticipated release of the Fed's policy statement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hey-fed-boss-janet-yellen-inflation-is-still-low-and-stocks-are-soaring-what-say-you-2017-09-18) and the press conference by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Germany's DAX 30 index and France's CAC 40 index each ticked up by 0.1%, while Spain's IBEX 35 fell 0.5% to 10,324.
The U.S. central bank is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold but to start unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-balance-sheet-unwind-will-be-moment-of-truth-for-financial-markets-2017-09-18). Analysts said the statement may be followed by moves in several asset classes, such as stocks, currencies and gold.
"Any caution on the economic outlook is likely to push out the prospect that we could see another rate rise this year, and we shouldn't forget that the problem of the [U.S.] debt ceiling has been pushed out into December," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
"If that remains unresolved by the time of the December meeting, then it makes the prospect of a rate move even less likely," he said in a note.