UPDATE: European stocks mark time as investors focus on U.S. Fed
By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
Thyssenkrupp shares rises on Tata deal news; Spain shares under pressure
European stocks wavered Wednesday, with investors seeming to hold off before the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy update, even as they assessed deal news from Thyssenkrupp and other corporate reports.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended down 0.04% at 381.98, echoing quiet action seen in the U.S (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-historic-fed-decision-looms-2017-09-20).
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 news conference by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Germany's DAX 30 index France's CAC 40 index both ticked up by 0.1%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended fractionally lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-edges-up-as-fed-decision-takes-center-stage-2017-09-20).
But Spain's IBEX 35 lost the most, ending down 0.8%, following news that police in Spain arrested some Catalonian officials (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/catalan-officials-arrested-in-spain-ahead-of-banned-independence-vote-2017-09-20) for their alleged involvement in planning a vote on Catalonia's secession from Spain. That ballot is set for Oct. 1, and has been declared illegal by the Spanish government.
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.