European indices are trading mixed, with the German DAX and the French CAC in negative territory, ahead of the FED's rate statement scheduled for 18:00 GMT, after the close of European stock markets. The wording will be closely watched to see if the pledge to be "patient" will be removed and a rate hike in June will become more likely.
Minutes from the last policy meeting of the Bank of England showed that all members of the committee voted unanimously to keep rates at the record-low level of 0.5% and its QE program unchanged. The strong economy could further strengthen the British pound and lead to inflation-rates below the targeted 2% - a level not seen for more than a year. A rate hike over the course of the next three years is seen more likely than not - although there was a "range of views" in the committee.
U.K.'s Unemployment Rate for February remained at 5.7%, a six-year low, analyst expected a decline to 5.6%. The Claimant Count fell seasonally adjusted 31,000 in February, compared to expectations for a decline of 30,000 people. Average earnings increased less-than-expected in the 3 months to January. Average earnings rose 1.8% compared to a previous reading of 2.1%, below the forecasted increase of 2.2%. Average earnings excluding boni rose 1.6%.
The FTSE 100 index is currently trading higher, quoted at 6,879.65. Germany's DAX 30 slumped -1.13% trading at 11,845.57 points. France's CAC 40 is currently trading at 5,005 points, -0.46%.