(Adds futures prices, company news items)
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - European equity futures rose slightly on Wednesday, with firmer oil prices potentially lending support to the market while corporate takeover activity continued as the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse announced merger terms.
Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were all up between 0.2-0.3 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1.1 percent on Tuesday, and many traders were refraining from buying up big positions before the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision due later in the day.
The Federal Reserve is expected to hold interest rates steady on Wednesday as it balances continued concerns about the health of the global economy with fresh signs that domestic inflation is starting to rear its head.
The Fed’s latest policy statement, due to be released at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) along with updated economic projections, will show how comfortable policymakers are in proceeding with the gradual rate hike path they embraced late last year.
The London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse announced merger terms.
Drinks and beer company Carlsberg announced financial targets.
European new car sales jumped 14 percent in February, industry data showed on Wednesday, helped by an extra selling day, even allowing Volkswagen’s core brand to swing back to growth despite its diesel emissions scandal.
German airport operator Fraport said it was cautious on passenger growth at its Frankfurt and Antalya airports in 2016 after attacks on tourist destinations dampened demand for travel to places such as Turkey this year.
Industrial gases group Linde said it will purchase 26,047 own shares under a 2012 buyback agreement.
Italy’s EI Towers, the mast company controlled by broadcaster Mediaset, has presented a binding offer to buy a stake in rival Inwit , a source close to the company said on Tuesday. On Monday two sources said Spain’s Cellnex and Italian infrastructure fund F2i had presented a rival offer to buy a stake in Inwit from parent company Telecom Italia .
Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International said on Wednesday it was sticking to its strategy in markets including Poland as it announced results that included net profit slightly lower than in preliminary figures released last month.
French drugmaker Sanofi and privately held DiCE Molecules announced on Wednesday a five-year research partnership aimed at discovering potential small-molecule drugs.
U.S. law firm Hausfeld said it will pursue claims of European customers harmed by Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, adding to the German automaker’s mounting legal challenges. Also, German newspaper Bild reported on Wednesday that Volkswagen’s modification of about 2.5 million diesel cars in Germany is being delayed by at least six weeks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks dip, dollar on tenterhooks for Fed; oil bounces > US STOCKS-Wall St dips as healthcare lags before Fed statement > Japan stocks fall before Fed, Sharp dives on report of M&A delay > TREASURIES-Prices cuts gains, market mixed ahead of outcome of Fed meeting > FOREX-Dollar on hold as Fed outcome looms, kiwi & sterling pressured > PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 2-week low as market eyes Fed statement > METALS-Copper drifts ahead of Fed, China hopes support > Oil rises as U.S. producers struggle; inventories may weigh
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta