* Expectations of Fed stimulus boosts riskier assets
* European shares gain 0.3 pct in early trade
* Dollar under pressure against higher yield currencies
* U.S. central bank decision due at 1730 GMT
* Oil firmer as OPEC meets, no change in output seen
LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - European shares and the euro
edged higher on Wednesday supported by expectations of more
monetary stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve when it ends its
two-day policy meeting later in the day.
Oil, copper and gold prices were also underpinned by the
talk as well as by recent positive economic data from Europe and
the United States, while the dollar hovered near multi-month
lows against higher yielding currencies.
Markets expect the Fed to expand its current asset purchase
scheme, committing to buy $45 billion of U.S. debt and extend
its purchases of mortgage-backed debt, to help sustain the
fragile U.S. economic recovery.
"We think that more quantitative easing is coming and this
next round will be the most aggressive yet," said Ralf Preusser,
head of European rates research at BofA Merrill Lynch Global
European shares were on course for an eighth straight day of
gain ahead of the Fed decision, which is due after markets in
the region close, though the FTSEurofirst 300 index was
barely changed in early trading after hitting an 18-month high
London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and
Frankfurt's DAX all opened little changed from the
previous day's level, while a 0.1 percent drop in U.S. stock
futures hinted at a soft Wall Street open.
Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan gained 0.5 percent to hit a fresh
16-month peak, helping push the MSCI world equity index
up 0.1 percent to 337.36 points.
The euro pulled further away from a two-week low of around
$1.2876 seen on Friday and stood at $1.3001, hanging on
to the gains made after Tuesday's surprisingly strong ZEW
economic sentiment index in Germany.
The dollar stood at 80.05 against a basket of major
currencies, barely changed from late U.S. levels on
Tuesday, but against higher yielding units like the Australian,
New Zealand and Canadian dollars, it was drifting lower.
London copper was up 0.5 percent at $8,139.75 a
tonne, near two-month highs, while spot gold inched up
0.1 percent to $1,713.15 an ounce.
Brent crude traded above $108 a barrel as the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepared to meet in
Vienna where it was widely expected to retain its output target
of 30 million barrels per day.
Brent futures were up 33 cents at $108.33 a barrel
while U.S. crude was 21 cents higher at $85.99 a barrel.