LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - European shares are expected to open flat to slightly higher on Wednesday, with strong company results boosting sentiment, although caution prevails ahead of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open 2 to 4 points lower, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to open 22 to 23 points higher, and France's CAC-40 .FCHI to open flat to 2 points lower.
"Equity markets may be continuing to react positively to the upbeat U.S. first-quarter earnings season, but concerns are now creeping in that the party may be coming to a close, especially with the first press conference surrounding the FOMC meeting minutes coming up later in the U.S. session," said Cameron Peacock, analyst at IG Markets.
"There's speculation that the Fed's QE2 programme could soon be wound up and any reduction in the supply of cheap money is naturally going to impact markets so as traders assess the implications here, there has to be every expectation that the optimistic mood we've seen in play for stocks of late will start to darken."
U.S. stocks gained 0.8 to 0.9 percent on Tuesday, while European shares rose for the fourth straight session to hit a two-week closing high. On Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei average .N225 climbed 1.3 percent.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0508 GMT----------------------
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG
S&P 500 .SPX 1,347.24 0.9 % 11.99
NIKKEI .N225 9,692.86 1.4 % 134.17
MSCI ASIA EX-JP .MIASJ0000PUS 596.17 0.62 % 3.69
EUR/USD EUR= 1.4689 0.30 % 0.0044
USD/JPY JPY= 81.56 0.04 % 0.0300
10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.327 -- 0.02
10-YR BUND YLD EU10YT=RR 3.238 -- -0.01
SPOT GOLD XAU= $1,508.49 0.49 % $7.29
US CRUDE CLc1 $112.42 0.19 % 0.22
* Nikkei rises 1.3 pct as exporters recoup losses [ID:nL3E7FR06P]
* US STOCKS-Strong earnings push S&P through key level [ID:nN26291849]
* Crude futures fall ahead of Fed meet; dollar supports [ID:nL3E7FR0CO]
* Gold inches up, silver rebounds as Fed decision looms [ID:nL3E7FR05D]
* Dollar near 3-year lows on Fed view, stocks rise [ID:nL3E7FR06S]
* LME copper eases, shrugs off weak dlr but Fed worries [ID:nL3E7FR07X]
* Dollar broadly weak, yen slips after S&P outlook cut [ID:nL3E7FR0BU]
* Bonds rally on steady Fed view [ID:nLDE73Q01D] (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Erica Billingham)