European Shares Set for Mixed Start Before Fed

European shares are set for a mixed start on Wednesday as British stocks are expected to open lower, while German and French stocks could open either higher or lower ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and policy statement.

Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open between 6 to 11 points lower; Germany's DAX to open between 12 points lower and 14 points higher and France's CAC-40 to open between 8 points lower and 4 points up.

European shares, as reflected by the FTSEurofirst 300 index, have fallen in four out of the past five sessions, shedding over 4 percent in this time and landing within just 0.2 percent of March's 2-1/4 year lows as concern over the U.S. economic outlook deepened.

The Fed is widely expected to keep U.S. rates at 2.0 percent, marking the end of a string of rate cuts to shield the economy from further slowdown and the fallout from the credit crunch.