Europe Markets

Europe ends mixed after UK budget; Credit Suisse falls; Fed eyed


European equities finished mixed on Wednesday as investors digested new budget announcements in the U.K. and awaited the latest interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended roughly flat, however major bourses and sectors closed in different directions. France's CAC was off 0.2 percent, while Germany's DAX was 0.5 percent higher by Europe's close.

UK budget in focus

The FTSE 100 came off session highs, but closed up 0.6 percent after George Osborne, the U.K. finance minister, reported his annual borrowing and spending plans to the U.K. parliament.

for the country as the outlook for the world economy now appears to be "materially weaker" than it did in its last outlook in November last year. Sterling fell against the dollar on the news, last standing at $1.409, down 0.4 percent at Europe's close.

Shares of U.K. banks ended mixed to slightly higher, with HSBC closing up almost 1 percent, while Standard Chartered and Lloyds finished in the red. This comes after Osborne announced minor changes to tax laws for the country's lenders.

Tate & Lyle shares sank almost 2 percent after Osborne announced a levy sugar tax on the drinks industry. Shares pared in later trade, closing down some 1 percent. Soft drinks maker Britvic also slipped, off 1.3 percent.

Read MoreUK unveils 'sugar tax', slashes growth outlook

Fed ahead

Meanwhile, investors around the world will turn their attention to the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) later on Wednesday, after Europe's markets have closed.

No move on rates is expected, but comments from FOMC policymakers will be scrutinized for indications on the path of tightening. On Thursday, the Bank of England meets on Thursday and Norway and Switzerland also hold central bank meetings.

In other news, real estate magnate Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posted strong results Tuesday night as voters in five states (Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio) cast ballots in a make or break moment for several presidential hopefuls.

In Asia, stocks finished mixed Wednesday, as investors awaited the outcome of the Fed's meeting. U.S. stocks attempted to make gains on Wednesday, following a recovery in oil prices.

Credit Suisse falls

Shares of Credit Suisse came off session lows but finished 4.9 percent lower on Wednesday after lawyers for Georgia's former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili filed a Swiss criminal complaint against the bank, which related to allegations of money laundering.

In response to the report, Credit Suisse said in a statement emailed to CNBC that it couldn't comment on the filing or cooperate with the Geneva prosecutor. "The former relationship manager concealed his deceptions from his colleagues and this is to the best of our knowledge an individual case," the bank said.

Meanwhile, shares of Deutsche Boerse finished slightly higher on Wednesday after it announced a merger with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), with the combined group expected to maintain its headquarters in London and Frankfurt. Shares of LSE initially rose but fell over 1 percent by the end of the trading session.

Oil in focus

The boards of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse confirmed on Tuesday that they are discussing a potential merger.
Deutsche Boerse, LSE Group announce merger of equals

Shares of Volkswagen closed up 1.5 percent despite a U.S. law firm saying that it will pursue claims of European customers harmed by the VW emissions scandal, adding to the automaker's legal challenges, Reuters reported.

Tourism and travel firms TUI and Thomas Cook slipped near the bottom of benchmarks, after investment bank Citi downgraded both London-listed stocks. Both closed down over 5 percent.

Oil prices bounced back on Wednesday, following news that OPEC and non-OPEC producers were to hold a meeting in the Qatari capital Doha on April 17, the Qatari oil ministry said, according to Reuters. Prices were also driven higher after the Energy Information Administration's latest inventories data, which showed a build of 1.3 million barrels in the U.S., instead of the expected 3.4 million.

Brent was up over 3.5 percent, hovering above $40 at Europe's close, while its U.S. counterpart, W.T.I came in around $37.89 per barrel. This boosted stocks in the oil and gas sector, with Seadrill finishing up 8 percent, while Tullow Oil, BP and Shell all posted gains of above 2 percent.

Don’t mention the ‘B-word’ on UK Budget day

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