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European equities closed lower on Wednesday as investors awaited the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a gathering of the European Central Bank's (ECB) Governing Council.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed down around 0.4 percent having wobbling during the day's session, as market attention in Europe focused on the two central bank meetings.
The Federal Open Market Committee isn't expected to take any action on interest rates today, however, with consensus for a rate hike pushed to September. A press briefing will be held at 14:30 EDT with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
London's FTSE 100 index closed around 0.4 percent lower, despite U.K. unemployment figures out Wednesday having fallen, showing wage growth hitting a near four-year high.
In Europe, meanwhile, the ECB is expected to review its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to Greece at a non-monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt. The ELA is extended by the Greece's central bank to its struggling lenders, but comes, ultimately, from the ECB.
The rates strategy team at Rabobank said the ECB was unlikely to push Greece into a default by closing the ELA lifeline, however.
"Given this, it seems unlikely that today's meeting of the ECB's Governing Council will herald anything other than an approval of increased ELA levels (if they are required)," they wrote in a note Monday.
"This is despite it being reported that President Draghi has requested this meeting to be in person rather than via teleconference."
Talks between Greece and its international creditors remain in deadlock as Athens faces a $1.8 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund by the end of June.
Default fears edge higher following comments from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accusing Greece's lenders of trying to "humiliate" the country by imposing more cuts, which appeared to show no desire on Greece's part to sign a last-minute deal.
Meanwhile, Russia is yet again in the spotlight after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country would buy 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles this year, raising concerns about Russia's military might during a volatile geo-political period in the region around the country.
After the announcement, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said that Putin's statement was one reason why the international military alliance was upping its deterrence measures, according to Reuters.
U.S. stocks were trading slightly higher on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the afternoon's Federal Reserve statement and press conference.
In individual stocks news, U.K. homebuilder Berkeley saw shares climb to close around 10.2 percent, at the top of EuroStoxx 600, after it posted 42 percent higher full-year pretax profit, but warned about the prospect of "Brexit" or U.K. exit from the European Union.
Remy Cointreau shares rallied almost 8 percent before closing only 3 percent higher, after the drinks maker said it plans on handing investors a hefty dividend hike, after its annual operating profit grew 13.5 percent. The group said sales of its pricier spirits in the U.S. saw strong demand.
On the other end, automotive spare parts manufacturer Valeo dropped to close around 5.4 percent, near the bottom of the EuroStoxx 600, after Credit Suisse cut its price target on the stock.
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