LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stock indices drifted lower as the comments from the Federal Reserve following a two-day policy meeting stoked fears the central bank may cut its monthly bond buying program before next spring.
In London, the FTSE was down 0.36% at 6,752.98.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) fell more than 4% after its third-quarter earnings declined by almost a third to $4.2 billion because of higher costs, lower refining margins and ongoing security problems in Nigeria.
In Frankfurt, the Dax ceded 0.18% to 8.994.21. In a biannual report, the U.S. Treasury criticized German economic policies, claiming these had neglected domestic demand.
In Paris, the Cac 40 slipped 0.23% to 4,264.09.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU - Get Report) shares surged more than 18% after the struggling networking equipment maker reported a third-quarter loss that was narrower than expectations and said it would exceed a full-year target for cost savings of 250 million euros to 300 million euros ($348.9 million to $411.4 million). France' s largest lender, BNP Paribas, meanwhile, rose by almost 3% after a decline in provisions for bad loans boosted third-quarter profit.
Cosmetics company L'Oreal was down almost 2% after it revealed disappointing third-quarter sales late Wednesday, in large part because of a weak North American market, where sales slid 2.7%.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 1.2% at 14,327.94. The Bank of Japan reaffirmed its commitment to monetary easing and said it still expects inflation to come close to its 2% in the fiscal year starting April 2015. The inflation rate is just 0.7% right now.
Panasonic rose 3.8% after lifting its full-year sales and profit forecasts. The appliances company, which last month handed Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. control of its healthcare business, now expects net profit to be double its previous forecast, at 100 billion yen for the fiscal year ending next March.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 0.42% at 23,206.37.