ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


The two-day rally in European equities ran out of steam on Wednesday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve latest meeting, which could give more hints on the first rate hike in the world’s largest economy. The minutes are out at 7 p.m. London time, or 2 p.m. Eastern time, and “there’s certainly going to be scope to pick through the detail here for further clues as to what the Fed is thinking,” said Joao Monteiro, analyst at Valutrades, in a note.

After a prolonged period with record low interest rates, investors are speculating when the Fed will start to tighten policy and what impact it will have on the economy and the stock market. Read: Yellen to stress patience on rates at Jackson Hole

In the U.K., minutes from the Bank of England’s August meeting showed two members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted in favor of raising interest rates. Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg, said in a note that this is a sign the first rate hike may come slightly earlier than markets currently expect. Read: Inflation may hold back BOE rate hike, despite vote split

Market reaction: The Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped 0.1% to close at 335.30, after on Tuesday posting its largest two-day gain since April. Sharp losses for Carlsberg AS and Luxottica Group SpA weighed on the benchmark.

France’s CAC 40 index lost 0.3% to 4,240.79, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.2% to 9,314.57.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.4% to 6,755.48, snapping a five-day winning streak. Meanwhile, the pound (GBPUSD) rose to as high as $1.6680 after the BOE minutes, but fell back to $1.6640 at the time of the European stock-market close. Ahead of the report, the pound traded at $1.6631, up from $1.6621 late Tuesday in New York.