Europe close: Stocks little changed ahead of Fed
European shares were little changed, but continued to trade just off records highs on Monday despite reports that the UK was due to delay lifting its Covid lockdown.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 600 was ahead 0.18% at 458.32. The UK’s FTSE 100 was up by an identical amount to 7,165.86, having earlier hit a fresh post-pandemic high even as the government was due to announce later in the day that the lifting of lockdown - originally due to end on 21 June - will be pushed back by up to a month.
"In the UK, the likelihood of an extension to the current lockdown restrictions is something which the market is expecting," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
Financial markets were also waiting on the result of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting two days later.
"No doubt the early signs of pre-FOMC hesitancy detected on Friday will only get stronger now that the decision and press conference are just over 48 hours away," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.
"In one sense, barring something radical, the outlook is quite tough either way for US stocks. No change and Wall Street will be left waiting for the next earnings season to start, but if the Fed talks about an earlier tapering then thin summer markets might be ripe for a bigger pullback."
In equity news, shares in oil giant Shell rose on a report it was considering the sale of its Texas shale assets.
Remote working software maker Teamviewer jumped 6% after announcing a new partnership with SAP.
Travel and leisure stocks were lower on the delay to the UK lockdown lifting, with British Airways parent IAG, engine maker Rolls-Royce, InterContinental Hotels, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, budget airlines easyJet and Wizz Air, all lower.
Dutch medical equipment company Philips fell 4.16% to the bottom of the Stoxx as it said it would recall some "CPAP" breathing devices and ventilators globally because of a foam part that might degrade and become toxic.