LONDON, March 19 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
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; editing by Simon Jessop)