European shares steady ahead of Fed; Inditex boosts Ibex

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 19, 2014 09:07 hrs

European stocks steadied on Wednesday as traders held fire ahead of a policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve, whose ultra-easy monetary stance has been a key driver of a sharp equity rally over the past 1-1/2 years.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index index was up 0.1 percent at 1,307.34 points. Spain's Ibex 35 outperformed as global clothing giant Inditex rallied after 3.5 reporting its 2013 results and saying early 2014 sales had shot up.

Traders said the market was positioned for disappointment from the owner of the Zara fashion chain heading into the update. Its shares had fallen roughly 7 percent over the previous 30 days as analysts cut gross operating profit estimates, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The Fed is set to further trim its bond-buying stimulus and could rewrite its guidance on when it might eventually raise interest rates, with some expecting chair Janet Yellen to scrap a numerical target on unemployment and adopt a more flexible stance.

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