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European shares tread water ahead of Fed outcome

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

March 17 (Reuters) - European stocks were flat on Wednesday as most investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy decision, while German carmaker BMW jumped after forecasting significant profit growth in 2021.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index edged 0.02% lower in early trading, tracking a cautious mood in Asian markets.

The Fed’s view on its monetary policy stance will be closely watched after a recent run-up in Treasury yields stoked concerns about higher inflation as the economy rebounds from pandemic lows. The U.S. central bank’s policy statement and economic forecasts are due at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).

BMW rose 1.9% after it said it expects a significant year-on-year increase in group pre-tax profit in 2021 as it forecast a strong performance in all of its segments.

Automakers gained 0.8% to lead sectoral gains, while travel & leisure, oil & gas and miners led the decliners.

Credit Suisse slipped 0.5% after Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the Swiss lender to “hold”, citing concerns about the the Greensill case. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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