European markets close flat as investors wait on Fed, G-20 summit

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up around 0.04 percent by the close, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.
  • What investors are keeping an eye on: trade relations between China and the U.S., Brexit, Italy's economy and a speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
  • In markets overseas, stocks in Asia were edging higher, while stocks on Wall Street finished Tuesday in the black, as the topic of trade dominates sentiment.

European stocks were slightly higher Wednesday, as investors attempted to decipher conflicting signals over the potential for a reprieve in the U.S.-Sino trade dispute.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up 0.04 percent during deals, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

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Europe's technology stocks sat among the gainers Wednesday, up 0.71 percent amid renewed hopes of a breakthrough in simmering trade tensions between the world's two largest economies. Stocks in the Basic Resources basket also outperformed.

Looking at individual stocks, France's EDF traded higher after President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that a decision regarding a possible increase of the state's stake in the company would take place next year. Shares of the Paris-listed stock rose 1.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Danone slumped towards the bottom of the index after Goldman Sachs downwardly revised its stock recommendation to "sell" from "neutral" Wednesday morning. Shares of the company slipped 1.6 percent on the news.

The biggest loser was Milan-listed Tenaris. The stock closed nearly 7 percent lower after news it is to be investigated for allegedly providing misleading investment information.

G-20 summit and Brexit

As the latest G-20 summit draws closer, investors continue to closely monitor simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal that it was "highly unlikely" the U.S. would delay from increasing tariff levels to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

On Tuesday however, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow appeared to ease fears, saying the U.S. administration had resumed discussions with China's government "at all levels."

Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping are expected to have dinner together when they meet at the G-20 summit in Argentina this weekend.

Sticking with the States, investors around the globe will be awaiting the latest comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who's scheduled to speakabout the central bank's framework surrounding financial stability later in the trading session.

Back in Europe, concerns surrounding Brexit continue to rumble on.

After leaders from the EU endorsed the Brexit withdrawal deal laid out by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, investors are now turning their attention to Britain's deeply divided Parliament.

May is urgently trying to rally enough lawmakers to support her Brexit deal — a daunting task given the broad criticism it has received. British lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the proposal on December 11.