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LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen slightly higher at the open on Wednesday, with firmer oil prices potentially lending support to the market.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain’s FTSE 100 to open up by 16 points, or 0.3 percent higher. Germany’s DAX was seen up by 17 points, or 0.2 percent higher, while France’s CAC was seen up by 20 points, or 0.5 percent higher.
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.
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 .
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