EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Fall From 20-month High Ahead Of GDP Data, Fed Decision

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Novo Nordisk rallies after earnings beat views

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European stock markets dropped from a 20-month high on Wednesday, with investors erring on the side of caution ahead of eurozone growth data and the latest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index lost 0.2% to 388.84, after closing at the highest level since August 2015 on Tuesday.

Germany's DAX 30 index dropped 0.2% to 12,480.80 on Wednesday, while France's CAC 40 index gave up 0.3% to 5,289.76. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index traded 0.3% lower at 7,226.44.

Shares of Hugo Boss AG (BOSS.XE) posted one of the biggest losses in the pan-European index, down 5.6% after the fashion clothier's first quarter-earnings report. While the German company posted a 25% rise in profit, analysts at Citi noted that its retail performance was weak in the quarter due to difficult trading conditions in key markets such as France, Germany and the U.S.

On a more upbeat note, shares of Novo Nordisk AS (NOVO-B.KO) (NOVO-B.KO) rallied 7.2% after the Danish insulin maker posted first-quarter earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novo-nordisk-earnings-beat-views-narrows-guidance-2017-05-03) that beat forecasts.

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Later in the morning, attention turns to the eurozone gross domestic product data, set for release at 10 a.m. London time, or 5 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists expect to see first-quarter growth at 0.5%, up from 0.4% in the fourth quarter last year.

After the European markets close, the Fed will announce its rate decision after a two-day policy meeting. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold and not make any changes until its June meeting.

"The Fed's March dot plot implied three rate hikes of 25 basis points each this year (including the March hike) and more recently -- even after the sinking of the health care bill -- several Fed speakers have repeated that they anticipate to hike three times this year, and even hinted at the possibility of four hikes depending on the economic data," analysts at Rabobank said in a note.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 04:40 ET (08:40 GMT)