European stocks were lower Wednesday morning, as investors awaited a policy decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.3 percent during early morning trade, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Europe’s basic resources stocks led the losses, down more than 2.5 percent, amid media reports of U.S. concerns that China is pushing back against American demands in trade talks.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both plan to travel to Beijing next week for another round of negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed Trump administration officials.
The world’s two largest economies have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods over the past year, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
Looking at individual stocks, Germany’s Bayer tumbled to the bottom of the European benchmark after a second U.S. jury found the company’s Roundup weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing a man’s cancer. Shares of the pharmaceutical group fell more than 12 percent on the news.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Inmarsat surged to the top of the index after the satellite operator announced it had opened talks about a $3.3 billion cash takeover approach from a private equity-led consortium. Shares of the London-listed stock rose over 16 percent.
On the data front, annualized U.K. core inflation rate figures for February and house price index data will be published at around 9:30 a.m. London time.
The U.S. central bank is widely expected to keep rates steady later in the session, with investors monitoring a decision on the Fed’s rate projections for the next few years.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, dipped 0.4 percent.
It comes after her plan to hold a third meaningful vote on her embattled Withdrawal Agreement was thrown into disarray by the speaker of Parliament.