Europe closes flat to lower ahead of Fed minutes

European shares closed flat to lower on Wednesday as investors awaited the minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed down 0.1 percent at 1,359, with the basic resources sector posting major declines, hit by ongoing price falls in commodity.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed down around 0.2 led lower. The worst performer on the index was Royal Mail. which closed more than 8 percent lower. Its shares tanked after the firm warned that rivals including Amazon were hurting its parcel delivery business and that competition from delivery firm Whistl could wipe £200 million off sales.

The French CAC closed up around 0.1 percent, while the German DAX was flat.


Ahead of the Fed minutes, the Bank of England published its own policy minutes that revealed the Bank's rate-setting committee was divided on the risks facing the U.K.'s economy.

Read More'Material spread of views' at Bank of England

November marks the fourth month that committee members Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty - widely viewed as the most hawkish members of the Monetary Policy Committee - voted for a change in policy.

Fed minutes ahead

U.S. stocks declined on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 and Dow closed at record highs, as investors waited to hear from the Federal Reserve and after data indicated the housing market is regaining traction.

Fed minutes will likely give further clues on the future path of interest rates from the central bank as it completes the dialing back of its recent liquidity program. The last time the Fed released minutes from an Federal Open Market Committee meeting, U.S. stocks had their biggest rally of the year.

Read MoreFed minutes back on Wall Street's radar

The October meeting minutes are expected Wednesday at 7 p.m. London time.

In Asia, trading was mixed on Wednesday, as sentiment turned cautious amid concerns over the health of Japan - the world's third largest economy.

The Bank of Japan on Wednesday kept its massive stimulus program intact, in the wake of data that showed the economy in recession and ahead of snap elections expected next month.

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