European markets ended mixed on Wednesday as investors made cautious moves, digesting a mixed bag of earnings reports and looking ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy statement.
Weak economic data, concerns over a likely delay in the U.S. and China agreeing on an interim trade deal and political uncertainty in the U.K. also contributed to the somewhat lackluster movements in European markets.
The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.08%. Among the major markets in Europe, the U.K. and France closed modestly higher, with their benchmarks FTSE 100 and CAC 40 adding 0.34% and 0.45%, respectively. Germany's DAX declined 0.23%, while Switzerland's SMI edged down 0.03%.
Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Iceland, Italy, Spain and Turkey ended weak.
Portugal, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland and Sweden closed higher, while Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine and Poland ended flat.
In the British market, NMC Health declined nearly 8% and Whitbread ended down 4.8%, while Marks & Spencer, Antofagasta and Kingfisher closed lower by 3.3 to 4%.
RBS, Rio Tinto and Barclays also declined sharply.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank declined nearly 8% after reporting a net loss of 832 million euros for the third quarter.
Continental and Covestro lost more than 4% and 3%, respectively. Wirecard and HeidelbergCement also ended sharply lower.
On the other hand, Fresenius, MTU Aero, Bayer, Beiersdorf, Vonovia and RWE ended stronger by 1 to 3.5%.
In the French market, Renault, ArcelorMittal, Michelin, Technip, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole lost 2 to 4%.
Among the gainers, L'Oreal climbed up 7.6% on strong third-quarter results. Peugeot advanced 4.5% and Airbus Group gained 3.4%. Pernod Ricard ended up 2.2%, while Dassault Systemes, Thales, Louis Vuitton, Orange and Essilor gained 1 to 1.3%.
In economic news, Eurozone economic confidence eased to a near five-year low in October suggesting that the single currency bloc entered the fourth quarter on a weak footing.
The economic sentiment index dropped to 100.8 in October from 101.7 in the previous month, survey results from the European Commission showed.
The industrial confidence index came in at -9.5 versus -8.9 a month ago. This was the weakest score since mid 2013. Meanwhile, the services sentiment indicator fell to 9.0 from 9.5 in September.
Germany's inflation slowed for a third straight month in October to its lowest level since early 2018, preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office showed.
The consumer price index rose 1.1% year-on-year following a 1.2% increase September. Economists had expected the inflation to ease to 1%. The latest inflation rate was the lowest since February 2018, when it was 1.1%.
Data from the Federal Employment Agency showed the number of people out of work in Germany increased by a seasonally adjusted 6,000 after falling a revised 9,000 in September. Economists had forecast a monthly rise of 3,000.
The jobless rate held steady at 5% in October, in line with expectations, and remained near a record low.
A report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said the U.K. economy would be 3.5% smaller with the new Brexit deal compared to continued EU membership.
The think tank said the economic outlook is clouded by significant economic and political uncertainty and depends critically on the nation's trading relationships after Brexit.
The economy is forecast to expand 1.4% each this year and next based on the assumption that the terms of EU trade remain unchanged.