PARIS (Alliance News) - The European markets are trading above the flat line on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement later in the day. Economists expect the central bank to announce another USD10 billion reduction in the pace of asset purchases.
Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to leave the key interest rates and asset purchase program unchanged at the monetary policy meeting held on June 4 and 5, the minutes showed.
All nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted to retain the record low 0.50% interest rate and quantitative easing at 375 billion pounds.
The Eurozone construction sector recovered in April after contracting in March, Eurostat reported. Construction output rose 0.8% in April from March when it was down 0.3%, driven by rise in building output.
The Conference Board leading economic index for France, a measure of future economic situation, remained unchanged in April, following an increase in the previous month.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.19%, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, is gaining 0.23%.
The German DAX is adding 0.26%, the UK'sFTSE 100 is gaining 0.40% and Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.24%. The French CAC 40 is up 0.13%.
In Frankfurt, RWE is gaining 2% and E.ON is rising 1%.
Infineon Technologies is advancing 1.2%.
SAP and Deutsche Telekom are moderately higher.
In Paris, Cap Gemini is gaining 1.3% and Alstom is up 1%.
Danone, Schneider Electric and Kering are moderately higher.
Bucking the trend, Alcatel Lucent is falling 2.1% and Publicis Groupe is sliding 1.4%.
In London, Royal Dutch Shell is gaining around 2%, after its unit completed sale of 78.27 million shares In Woodside Petroleum.
Vodafone is gaining 1.6% and Compass Group is gaining 1.3%.
Residential property developer Berkeley Group is falling 3.6%, after issuing a cautious outlook.
The losers include United Utilities and Severn Trent, which are down 3.6% and 2.3%, respectively.
Hennes and Mauritz, which reported quarterly results, is modestly higher in Stockholm.
Novartis is down 0.3% in Zurich. The Swiss drugmaker expects the new company, which emerged after a portfolio review, to be more profitable.
The Asian stocks fell broadly as soft housing data out of China and mounting concerns over the conflict in Iraq kept investors at bay.
In the US, futures point to a slightly higher open on Wall Street. US stocks rose for a third session overnight as investors digested mixed economic data and looked ahead to the FOMC meeting.
Crude for July delivery is gaining USD0.27 to USD106.63 per barrel, while August gold is losing USD0.9 to USD1271.1 a troy ounce.