European stocks, which surpassed a record close earlier, pared gains as oil extended losses.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1 percent to 404.66 at the close of trading. It rose as much as 0.4 percent to 405.78 intraday, surpassing the March 2000 level. BG Group Plc jumped a record 27 percent after Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to buy it for 47 billion pounds ($70 billion) in cash and stock.
A gauge of energy producers pared an advance, with oil deepening a slump after a report showed U.S. inventories grew more than expected last week. Shell slipped 4.4 percent.
SBM Offshore NV slipped 8.1 percent after a report said the Dutch company agreed to compensate Petroleo Brasileiro SA for contract losses estimated at $1.7 billion. SBM said it hasn’t reached an accord.
Investors are also seeking clues on the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate increase since 2006. The central bank publishes minutes from its latest meeting after European markets close. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said she expects to raise rates this year, and that increases will be data dependent.
The Stoxx 600 has climbed 18 percent this year, including its biggest jump in 10 weeks on Tuesday, on optimism central banks will support the economy. The European Central Bank began a quantitative-easing program that sparked a slump in the euro versus the dollar, helping exporters further.
Portugal’s PSI 20 Index posted the biggest increase among western-European markets on Wednesday as Galp Energia SGPS SA, BG’s partner in Brazilian fields, jumped 6.2 percent.
Among other stocks active on corporate news, Electrolux AB tumbled 6.5 percent after saying first-quarter results for its North American appliances business will be significantly lower than forecast.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and PSA Peugeot Citroen slipped more than 1.4 percent after Kepler Cheuvreux SA downgraded the shares.
The DAX Index dropped 0.7 percent after data showed German factory orders unexpectedly fell for a second month in February.