European stocks were trading mostly lower early Wednesday with investors on the backfoot ahead of the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.
The U.S. central bank is due to release minutes of its July policy meeting later in the global trading day, and markets are keeping a close watch on the minutes to get further indication as to when the Fed might start tapering its monthly bond-purchase program.
Investors fear the Fed might start scaling back its easy monetary policies as soon as next month -- a step, which would significantly hit demand for assets including equities and commodities.
Stocks on the Move
Financial plays were trading mostly higher, albeit with slim gains but losses in the resources segment offset these gains.
Among banks, Credit Agricole SA was up 0.5% and Societe Generale SA added 0.3% in France.
Lloyds Banking Group Plc. tacked on over a percent after the London-listed firm said it would sell more than 500 million pounds of assets to strenghten its capital base.
German banking giant Commerzbank AG vaulted over 3% but Deutsche Bank AG slipped 1%.
On the other side of the ladder, miners BHP Billiton Plc. and Rio Tinto Plc. fell more than 1.5% each while Anglo American Plc. lost 1.6%.
In corporate news, London based Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc. said it has entered into a five-year supply and marketing agreement with a Johnson & Johnson unit. Shares of the company bounced nearly 36% on heels of the news.
Meanwhile, Germany's federal cartel office reportedly set it would let the European Commission deal with Vodafone Group Plc.'s bid for German cable network operator Kabel Deutschland Holding AG. Shares of Vodafone edged up 0.6% while those of the German cable company gained 1.6%.
Elsewhere in the region, Dutch brewer Heineken NV lost around 4% after the company reported a 16.6% fall in net half year profits, and said that it expected weak demand to persist.
Another brewing company Calrsberg reported lower second quarter profits, sending its shares down over 1%.