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    16.03.2016 17:00 European stocks close: stocks closed mixed ahead the Fed’s interest rate decision

    Stock indices closed mixed ahead of the release of the Fed's interest rate decision later in the day. Analysts expect the Fed to keep its monetary policy unchanged.

    A rise in oil prices supported stocks. Oil prices increased on news that OPEC and non-OPEC members will meet on April 17 in Doha to discuss the stabilisation of the oil market. The U.S. crude oil inventories data also supported oil prices.

    Market participants eyed the Eurozone's economic data. The Eurostat released its construction production data for the Eurozone on Wednesday. Construction production in the Eurozone climbed 3.6% in January, after a 0.7% decline in December.

    Civil engineering output rose 1.7% in January, while production in the building sector was up 4.1%.

    On a yearly basis, construction output jumped 6.0% in January, after a 0.4% gain in December. December's figure was revised up from a 0.4% drop.

    Civil engineering output increased 1.4% year-on-year in January, while production in the building sector climbed 7.1% year-on-year.

    Britain's Chancellor George Osborne presented the budget 2016 on Wednesday. Growth and inflation forecasts were lowered. According to the U.K. Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the U.K. economy is expected to expand 2.0% in 2016, down from the previous forecast of 2.4%, and 2.2% in 2017, down from the previous forecast of 2.5%.

    Inflation is expected to be 0.7% in 2016, down from the previous forecast of 1.0%, and 1.6% in 2017, down from the previous forecast of 1.8%.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its labour market data on Wednesday. The U.K. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1% in the November to January quarter, in line with expectations.

    The claimant count slid by 18,000 people in February, beating expectations for a fall by 9,100, after a decrease of 28,400 people in January. January's figure was revised down from a 14,800 decrease.

    Average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, climbed by 2.2% in the November to January quarter, after a 2.0% gain in the October to December quarter.

    Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose by 2.1% in the November to January quarter, in exceeding expectations for a 2.0% gain, after a 1.9% increase in the October to December quarter.

    The Bank of England monitors closely the wages growth it considers when to start hiking its interest rate.

    Indexes on the close:

    Name Price Change Change %

    FTSE 100 6,175.49 35.52 0.58 %

    DAX 9,983.41 49.56 0.50 %

    CAC 40 4,463 -9.63 -0.22 %


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