LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were mixed on Wednesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement and, closer to home, details of Britain's 2015 budget on the back of the latest U.K. labor market statistics.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.54% at 6,874.47, while in Frankfurt, the DAX shed 0.60% to 11,909.49. In Paris, the CAC 40 erased 0.29% to 5,014.14
U.K. stocks were up before U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was due to unveil his budget, less than two months before voters go to the polls in the EU's third-largest economy.
Earlier in the morning, figures from the U.K. Office of National Statistics showed that the number of unemployed fell by 102,000 to 1.86 million in the three months to January, though the jobless rate remains 5.7%.
Investors are also eagerly awaiting the Fed policy statement after the close of the European trading day to wrap up a two-day meeting.
Marks & Spencer (MAKSY) was also among the morning's top performers, rising 1.55%, as retailers got a boost from positive news out of Spain.
In Madrid, Inditex jumped 2.6% in Madrid after Europe's largest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara clothing chain posted a 5% rise in 2014 net profit and in same-store sales, driven by new store openings and expansion of its online sales platform.
The company, which also owns the Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti clothing chains, opened 343 new outlets in 54 markets in 2014, and openings planned for 2015 include London's Oxford Street, Barcelona's Plaza Cataluña and several stores in the U.S., including three in New York. It also plans to launch online sales in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
In Amsterdam, oil platform leasing firm SBM Offshore (SBFFF) rallied more than 7% after signing a memorandum of understanding with Brazilian authorities investigating a bribery scandal linked to state-owned Petroleo Brasiliero (PBR) - Get Report, known as Petrobras.
SBM Offshore said the accord sets a framework for discussions "on a potentially mutual settlement" and for SBM to disclose information relevant to the investigation in what could be the first leniency deal related to the scandal.
In Paris, Channel Tunnel Operator Groupe Eurotunnel (GRPTF) was down 0.41% as initial excitement waned on the company's plans to boost its dividend by 20% and on its prediction of further earnings expansion in 2015. It projects EBITDA of €535 million in 2015 and €580 million in 2015, up from €498 million in 2014.
Asian stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 0.91% to 24,120.08, while in Tokyo, the Nikkei added 0.55% to 19,544.48.