European shares erase gains ahead of Fed minutes
* FTSEurofirst 300 index closes flat
* Miners slip, track fall in iron ore prices
* Swiss SMI index touched 9,000 mark
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - European shares ended flat after hitting a seven-week high earlier on Wednesday, with investors trading cautiously ahead of minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting.
The market also faced pressure from a sharp decline in mining shares after China's iron ore futures dropped nearly 5 percent to a record low. That pushed down spot prices, which have slumped to their weakest in more than five years on a supply glut.
The STOXX Europe Basic Resources index fell 1.6 percent, the worst sectoral performer in Europe, while both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton shed more than 2 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 share index ended flat at 1,359.88 points, after climbing to a seven-week high earlier in the session with the help of some positive broker upgrades. But gains evaporated later as focus shifted to the Fed minutes.
"There are still some concerns that the language from the Fed might indicate that the rates will start rising sooner than expected," Lorne Baring, managing director of B Capital Wealth Management, said. Continuación...