European equities closed mixed on Wednesday as investors took profits and eyed growing expectations that the US Federal Reserve would unveil more stimulus measures later this week, dealers said.
London's FTSE 100 index lost 0.56 percent to 5,743.53 points and the Paris CAC 40 shed 0.51 percent to 3,413.89 points. Frankfurt's DAX 30 meanwhile gained 0.11 percent to 7,010.57 points
The euro dipped to $1.2557, compared with $1.2566 late in New York on Tuesday, finding some support from hopes that the European Central Bank could restart a bond-buying programme.
ECB head Mario Draghi wrote in an article for the German weekly Die Zeit that the ECB would always act within its mandate to ensure price stability, but that it might have to resort to exceptional measures.
"The ECB will do what is necessary to ensure price stability. It will remain independent. And it will always act within its mandate. Yet it should be understood that fulfilling our mandate sometimes requires us to go beyond standard monetary policy tools," Draghi said.
Meanwhile Italy raised 9.0 billion euros at a six-month debt sale, with the yield dropping to 1.585 percent from 2.454 percent in the previous auction on July 27.
"Markets are in the process of recognising the successes" of Italy's deficit cutting measures, said Prime Minister Mario Monti.
Meanwhile, Fed chief Ben Bernanke was due to address an annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, with markets hoping he will outline fresh plans to boost the world's number one economy.
"Investors would rather sit this week out than get involved in the run-up to Bernanke's speech at Jackson Hole," said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at online brokerage Interactive Investor.
"All the signs are there that he will announce additional policy easing but investors are not taking any chances."
The euro was provided with some support by news that Draghi would not be at Jackson Hole, which stoked speculation a new round of bond buying was near.
"The ECB president was due to speak at the meeting of central bankers on Saturday. However he has been forced to pull out due to a heavy workload," said Alpari analyst James Hughes.
"This is the biggest sign yet that the ECB are working hard to put the finishing touches to the bond buying programme, which is expected to be unveiled at the press conference on September 6," he said.
US stocks opened slightly higher with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 0.05 percent to 13,109.78 points after five minutes of trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.11 percent to 1,410.82 points, while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 0.14 percent to 3,081.56.
Stocks were slightly encouraged by an upward revision to the second-quarter economic growth estimate, to 1.7 percent from 1.5 percent.
While an encouraging sign for the economy, it was also seen as boosting the argument against Federal Reserve President Ben Bernanke pushing through new stimulus effort for the moment.
Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday.
Tokyo gained 0.40 percent, Seoul added 0.64 percent, while Hong Kong fell 0.12 percent, Shanghai dropped 0.96 percent and Sydney edged down 0.07 percent.
"Players remain in wait-and-see mode leading up to the Jackson Hole summit where more hints on information about the direction of monetary policy are expected," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
Global markets have enjoyed an impressive rally in August on hopes for fresh Fed stimulus and bond-buying by the ECB, while Chinese leaders are also expected to loosen monetary policy to kickstart the Asian giant.