The Deal: European, Asian Shares Trade Mixed

LONDON ( The Deal) -- European and Asian stock indices were mixed Wednesday, Sept. 18, as investors waited for the Federal Reserve to pronounce on the level of monthly bond purchases at the end of a two-day meeting later Wednesday.

Economists predict the central bank will scale back monthly purchases to about $75 billion from $85 billion, reducing the monetary stimulus even as some indicators suggest U.S. growth is stalling.

Germany's DAX index eked out a 20.81, or 0.24%, gain to trade at 8,617.76 by late morning, with HeidelbergCement leading gainers after Goldman Sachs analysts issued a buy recommendation. The stock rose 2% to €58.51 ($78.15 ). In the U.K., the FTSE 100 was up 1.1 at 6,571.38. Barclays ( BCS) plunged 6.7% to 280.25 pence after earlier this week warning of a new 50 million pounds ($80 million) fine related to a 2008 Qatari fundraising and also of compensation payments to customers for miscalculating interest rates. It made the disclosures in a prospectus to market its planned 5.8 billion pounds rights issue.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 193.69, or 1.35%, at 14,505.36 as computer screens supplier Sharp announced plans to raise up to 166.4 billion yen ($1.7 billion) through share issues. The Hang Seng ceded 63.07, or 0.27%, to 23,117,45.

Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up 1.1 at 1,700.10.

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