The pan-European STOXX 600 came off its highs to close 0.05 percent up. Sectors pointed in different directions.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 finished 0.3 percent up, while Germany’s DAX ended 0.06 percent up. France’s CAC however ended down 0.23 percent.
Uncertainty over central banks’ next moves continued to worry investors across the world on Wednesday, with many focusing on the Fed, as it is expected to meet on September 20. However, chances of the Fed raising rates appear slim.
“Once again we’re left to absorb all the information we’ve had over the last couple of weeks, the result of which appears to be that the Fed will hold off on raising interest rates next week,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note Wednesday.
“While a number of policy makers would clearly be comfortable with raising rates at this point, I think there are enough that want to see more evidence of higher inflation to prevent a hike next week. Investors are clearly in agreement on this with markets pricing in only a 15% chance of a hike,” Erlam added.
Meanwhile, oil prices continued to shake up sentiment on Wednesday, with crude futures fluctuating between gains and losses.
Brent last hovered around $46.50, while U.S. WTI stood around $44.35, as prices pared some losses following new data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. US. commercial crude inventories fell by559,000 barrels to a total of 510.8 million barrels in the week through Sept. 9, the EIA reported.
The fluctuations in oil continued to influence trade on Wall Street, where stocks were trading mostly higher. Meanwhile, basic resources stocks outperformed on the back of a rise in metal prices. Glencore,Antofagasta and Anglo American were all higher.
Bayer-Monsanto deal; Luxury eyed
In business news, chemicals and healthcare group Bayer announced plans to acquire U.S. seeds company Monsanto with a takeover offer of around $66 billion. An agreement had been signed for Bayer to pay $128 per share, up from its previous offer. Bayer shares rose on the news, last trading up some 2 percent.
A number of luxury stocks were lower after earnings. France’s Hermessaid it was going to scrap annual sales growth forecasts as of 2017 due to the uncertain trading environment, sending shares in the luxury goods maker sharply lower.
Richemont said operating profit for the six months ending September 30 is expected to be around 45 percent lower than in the same period last year. Shares slipped over 3 percent, while LVMH, Burberry and a number of other luxury stocks also fell.
Meanwhile, Ocado extended its losses from Tuesday, sinking over 7 percent on Wednesday after Exane BNP Paribas cut its rating on the stock to “under-perform”.