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European Stocks Slide Ahead of Fed Minutes

LONDON (The Deal) -- Global stock indices extended Tuesday's steep losses on Wednesday, with investors hoping that minutes of the last Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting will ease recent nervousness.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.53% at 6,702.72 by mid-morning. In Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.07% to 9,766.04. The CAC 40 in Paris drifted down 0.06% to 4,339.86.

The Fed releases minutes of the June 17-18 meeting at 2 p.m. EDT; the optimal tone would be one that assuages fears about global growth stalling and worries about asset bubbles while chiming with Fed Chair Janet Yellen's recent dovish comments about U.S. monetary policy.

In Paris, Sodexo shares were down more than 3% after the catering company cut its fiscal 2014 revenue forecast as it presented nine-month figures. The company said it expects "organic revenue growth" of between 2.2% and 2.5% -- that's down from previous guidance of 2.5% to 3% because of delays in certain major contracts. The company confirmed its operating profit growth target of 11%.

Recently listed catering peer Elior accompanied its larger rival lower.

Air France-KLM edged up about 1% to 8.667 euros after UBS lifted its forecast to neutral from sell with a price target of 8.90 euros after Tuesday's 8.7% decline.

In Germany, sporting goods company Adidas fell sharply. The company is said to be close to sealing a record kit sponsorship deal with Manchester United. Nike (NKE) said it pulled out of talks because the British soccer club was asking for too much.

In London, recently listed consumer lender TSB Group was down more than 2% at 277 pence after analysts at Credit Suisse initiated coverage with a price target of 250 pence and an underperform recommendation.

But Rentokil Initial rose after Credit Suisse analysts lifted their recommendation on the pest control services provider to outperform from neutral and raised their target price.

Insurer Aviva slipped more than 3% after CEO Mark Wilson set out new cash flow and cost targets and reiterated plans to cut debt at an investor day presentation. The London company also announced the creation of an Indonesia life insurance joint venture.

Irish drugs maker Shire (SHPG) drifted down 1% as investors remained skeptical that the company can agree on a takeover by unsolicited suitor AbbVie ABBV, which Tuesday announced a fourth proposal. At 4,484 pence, Shire shares are well below the 5,115 pence value that AbbVie put on its latest stock-and-cash offer.

Asia indices ended predominantly in the red. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.08% to close at 15,302.65. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng tumbled 1.55% to close at 23,176.07. 

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