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European Shares Drift Lower As Investors Look To Fed


European stocks drifted lower on Wednesday as traders locked in some profits after a strong rally in the previous session.

The downside remained limited by a combination of central bank easing and hopes for a thawing in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

After ECB President Mario Draghi said that he was open to boosting monetary stimulus, investors now wait to see whether the U.S. central bank would follow the lead of the European Central Bank and open the door to future rate cuts

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2 percent at 384.13 after climbing 1.7 percent in the previous session.

France's CAC 40 index was down 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was losing 0.3 percent while the German DAX was marginally higher.

Spanish oil major Repsol S.A. shed 0.8 percent after saying it is eliminating approximately 30 percent of its Canadian workforce.

British Airways owner IAG slumped 5.3 percent and easyJet tumbled 3.5 percent after HSBC said it is increasingly cautious towards European airlines.

Likewise, online food order and delivery service Just Eat tumbled 3.2 percent after a rating cut by UBS.

Berkeley Group Holdings declined 2.3 percent, surrendering early gains after the property developer posted a smaller-than-expected fall in annual profit.

Insurance and tourism firm Saga plunged nearly 12 percent after the company warned on conditions in its travel business amid political uncertainty in the U.K.

Construction and services company Kier Group soared 9 percent to extend gains from the previous session.

Rate-sensitive banks were broadly higher. Deutsche Bank advanced 1.8 percent, BNP Paribas rose 0.6 percent, Societe Generale added 0.9 percent and Lloyds Bank gained 0.6 percent.

On the data front, Eurozone's current account surplus decreased for a third straight month in April to its lowest level in two years, data from the European Central Bank showed. The current account surplus decreased to EUR 20.905 billion from EUR 24.680 billion in March.

U.K. inflation slowed to the central bank target in May, as widely expected, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Consumer price inflation came in at 2 percent in May versus 2.1 percent in April. The rate matched expectations. The annual decline was largely driven by air fares and falling car prices.

Another report showed that U.K. house price inflation slowed in April after accelerating in the previous month.

Average house prices rose 1.4 percent year-on-year following a 1.6 percent increase in March. In February, house price inflation was 1.2 percent.

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