European stocks propped up as shares in oil firms rise
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - European stocks rose slightly on Wednesday, as a rise in the shares of energy companies propped up the region's markets.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index were both up by 0.3 percent by 0805 GMT.
Shares in oil companies such as BP and Total advanced as oil prices climbed.
Shares in Deutsche Boerse and London Stock Exchange also rose after the two stock market operators announced merger terms.
Investors were expected to trade relatively cautiously before the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest interest rate decision due later in the day, with the Fed expected to hold interest rates steady.
The Fed's latest policy statement, due to be released at 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. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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