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European markets were down slightly in early afternoon trading Wednesday as of 7:15 a.m. ET.

FTSE -0.34%. Miners Anglo American (AAUK) and Rio Tinto were down 2.7% and 1%. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) fell 1.5%. BP (NYSE:BP) was down 0.8% while Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) gained 1.5%. Northern Rock jumped another 5.5%.

CAC -0.49%. Losers included Peugeot (-2.3%) and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU -1%). Sanofi-aventis (NYSE:SNY) was up 0.6%.

Dax - 0.24%. Infineon (IFX) was up 1%. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) was down 0.8%.

The Bank of England is scheduled to release the minutes of its Monetary Policy Committee's December meeting, at which it cut interest rates for the first time in two years to 5.5%. "You are getting a response from the central banks which is good, but I think the market would like more confidence that actually you will get policy rate cuts," Dresdner Kleinwort strategist Philip Isherwood said. "Very large-scale liquidity provision is good but it does highlight there is a problem. The number of banks that took the money shows that actually it appears to be reasonably widespread in terms of the need for liquidity over the year-end or otherwise." The ECB said Tuesday it loaned over $500B in low-rate funds (ECB Injects $500B; Interbank Rate Plummets).

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Source: Europe Inches Down Wednesday