RTTNews - Wednesday, the major European markets may open modestly higher on the back of small gains in Asia. That said, investors may express caution as they await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting.

While the Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged, traders will keep a close eye on the accompanying statement. With the Japanese exports falling at a faster pace in May, investors may now focus on the economic reports from Europe and the U.S. to get a better understanding of the course of the global economy

Asian stock markets recovered modestly Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Fed meeting later in the day. On Tuesday, stocks ended little changed on Wall Street after a choppy ride. Volumes were thin as traders mostly stayed on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's outlook on interest rates. A lower than expected rise in existing homes sales also weighed to an extent. While the S&P 500 index finished up 0.23%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.19% and the Nasdaq Composite index edged down 0.07%.

Crude oil futures for August delivery jumped in New York trading on Tuesday, as investors looked ahead to the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report, which is expected to show a drop in stockpiles on Wednesday. Light sweet crude futures for August delivery settled at $69.24 per barrel, up $1.74 or 2.58% on the session after moving in a range of $66.37-$69.68. during the session. In Asian trading on Wednesday, crude oil was last trading weaker at $68.32 a barrel, down 1.33%.

European stocks fell for the second day on Tuesday, as banking stocks slipped on renewed pessimism about an economic recovery. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed down 0.42%, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.57%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 10 index fell 0.10% and France's CAC 40 index declined 0.21%, while Germany's DAX index rose 0.29%.

No major European statistical reports are slated for today, with only a few second tier-reports such as the euro zone current account balance and the Italian retail sales due out later in the day.

At 3.30am ET, the Italian research institute ISAE is set to release the results of its monthly consumer confidence survey for June. Consumer confidence is forecast to fall to 104.7 in June from 104.9 in May.

Half an hour later, the Italian retail sales report is due. Economists forecast retail sales to stay flat on a monthly basis in April, following a 0.1% rise in March. Year-over-year, retail sales are expected to drop 2.8%. Thereafter, the European Central Bank is scheduled to issue the current account balance for April. The Eurozone current account deficit stood at a seasonally adjusted EUR 6.5 billion in March.

In corporate news, Norwegian aluminum company Norsk Hydro ASA dropped its bid to acquire China-based Asia Aluminum Holdings, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified sources familiar with the situation.

The securities units of Credit Suisse Group and Deutsche Bank AG said Tuesday that they agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Huntsman Corp. over alleged interference in a failed merger.

German power utility RWE won European Union antitrust approval to acquire a unit of Dutch utility Essent NV for 9.3 billion euros ($13 billion) including debt, but it would require RWE to divest Essent's controlling shareholding in Stadtwerke Bremen AG.

Belgium's biggest bank Dexia SA will hold an extraordinary meeting at 10 a.m. in Brussels to seek shareholder nod to a share placement plan to the Belgian and French states.

French prosecutors have opened a preliminary inquiry into a complaint filed this month by leisure group Club Mediterranee SA , alleging share price manipulation by businessman Bernard Tapie, reports suggest.

Experian Friends Provident and Invensys are set to turn ex-dividend. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has rejected GlaxoSmithKline PLC's application to approve an experimental drug for nausea and vomiting due to insufficient data.

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