Europe stocks close mixed ahead of Fed minutes
European stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, with worse-than-expected jobs data slightly weighing on the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and investors awaiting minutes from the U.S Federal Reserve's latest meeting.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed higher by 0.1 percent at 1,338.27 points, with civil unrest in Ukraine dominating European headlines.
Fires still raged in the capital city of Kiev on Wednesday after a bloody day of battles between riot police and protesters. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, a former boxing champion, called for Viktor Yanukovych's embattled government to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections. Ukraine stocks fell over 4 percent and analysts warned that unrest in the country could affect the currencies of other emerging Europe nations.
The European Union called an extraordinary meeting of its foreign ministers for Thursday as the violence in Ukraine escalates, with the bloc expected to impose sanctions on those responsible for the bloodshed in Kiev.
(Read More: EU moves towards Ukraine sanctions amid bloodshed)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed plans to impose sanctions on Wednesday, Reuters reported, and the Polish deputy foreign minister told reporters that a consensus had already been reached among EU states.
UK data weighs
The U.K. unemployment rate rose in the three months to December, bringing to a halt the recent sharp declines in the country's jobless figures. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.2 percent compared with 7.1 percent in the three months to November, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number was higher than a forecast of 7.1 percent in a Reuters poll.
(Read More: UK unemployment rose at end of 2013)
London's FTSE 100 closed flat on Wednesday
Fed minutes eyed
With little else on the agenda Wednesday in the U.S., the focus is likely to be on any clues regarding the future of monetary policy. The Fed will release minutes from its January meeting, at which it opted to cut another $10 billion from its monthly asset purchases. The release is due at 7 p.m. GMT.
Peugeot shares bounce
In corporate news, Hong Kong's Dongfeng Motor fell over 1 percent after agreeing to a capital tie-up with Peugeot as part of a broader 3 billion euro fundraising. Shares of Peugeot initially rose 3.4 percent after the news, with the French carmaker also announcing that its net loss for 2013 had narrowed compared to the year before. However, at Wednesday's close, shares in Peugeot were down 1.5 percent.
Italian seamless steel tube maker Tenaris fell 7 percent on Wednesday after U.S. trade authorities decided not to impose tariffs on South Korean imports of oil and gas pipe.
Shares of Carlsberg provisionally closed higher by 7 percent after the Danish brewer raised its dividend and said its operating profit had risen due to growth in Asia.
French bank Credit Agricole saw its shares push higher by 2 percent after it announced a swing back to profit in its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.
Britain's largest sporting goods retailer Sports Direct bucked the trend on the FTSE, closing higher by around 7 percent, after unveiling a 14.6 percent rise in profit in its Christmas quarter and saying it was confident of hitting its full-year target.
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