European stocks fell Friday in cautious deals before a key speech from US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, with London also subdued before a long holiday weekend, dealers said.
The British capital's benchmark FTSE 100 index slid 0.17 percent to 6,765.36 points in midday deals.
The London market will remain closed on Monday for a public holiday.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.66 percent to 9,339.50 points and in Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 0.89 percent to 4,254.84 compared with Thursday's close.
Later on Friday, Yellen will deliver a keynote speech at the Fed's annual conference in at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming, as investors continue to speculate on the direction of US interest rates.
"Traders will keep a close eye on Fed chief Janet Yellen, who will deliver a speech on labour markets later this afternoon," said analyst Markus Huber at brokerage Peregrine & Black in London.
"Any hints that the labour market is more balanced and healthier than earlier this year might lead to a reassessment by analyst concerning the likely timing of a first rate rise."
- All eyes on Yellen -
European equities had already marched higher on Thursday, cheered by hints the Fed could raise interest rates sooner than expected in view of US growth, and despite mixed eurozone data.
The Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday will also feature speakers from the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan.
"With little in the way of economic data out today attention turns towards the Jackson Hole Symposium where traders will look for further clarity on global interest rates," added Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria.
"With speakers from the Fed, BoE, ECB and the BoJ it will be a smorgasbord of global monetary policy for traders to feast on.
"The consensus for today is that comments will lean to the dovish side, but traders may not want to take the risk of a rogue tongue slip going into the weekend."
In foreign exchange deals on Friday, the European single currency firmed to $1.3287 from $1.3281 late in New York on Thursday.
The euro eased to 80.09 pence from 80.10 pence late in New York on Thursday, while the pound edged up to $1.6588 from $1.6580.
The price of gold meanwhile climbed to $1,281.36 an ounce, from $1,275.25 on Thursday on the London Bullion Market.
- Asia stocks mainly climb -
Asia's main stock markets mostly pushed higher on Friday as traders there also awaited Yellen.
Hong Kong gained 0.47 percent, Shanghai added 0.46 percent, Sydney rose 0.12 percent and Seoul climbed 0.61 percent, while Tokyo slipped 0.30 percent.
The upward momentum followed a rally on Wall Street as investors shrugged off geopolitical concerns, cheered by fresh signs of strength in the US economy.
Sentiment was boosted by positive US data, including a pick-up in existing-home sales in July and a downturn in new claims for unemployment insurance.
The broad-based S&P added 0.29 percent to hit a record 1,992.37, while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.36 percent to 17,039.49.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 0.12 percent to 4,532.10, its highest level in 14 years.