European markets opened lower on 20 November, and witnessed mixed trade thereafter, ahead of the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's October policy meeting.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index opened 0.2% lower to 321.95.

Britain's FTSE 100 opened 0.4% lower.

France's CAC 40 opened 0.3% lower.

Germany's DAX 30 opened 0.2% lower.

Spain's IBEX 35 was trading 0.07% lower after opening lower.

Italy's FTSE MIB was trading 0.33% higher after opening lower.

Market players await the release of the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) October meeting, due out on 20 October.

The minutes could help investors determine whether Fed policymakers would push for a reduction in the central bank's asset buys from December onwards.

Standard Chartered said in a note to clients: "On Wednesday, the Fed will release the October FOMC minutes [at 14:00 hrs EST]. We expect a dovish tone compared with the statement, which surprised the market by dropping the language referring to tightening financial conditions, having a relatively positive tone on the job market, and omitting statements of concern regarding lower inflation. We expect that most FOMC members reiterated the need to wait for more evidence that a solid pace of growth can be sustained".

"Markets will watch for any discussion about fine-tuning the thresholds for forward guidance; we expect Fed members to continue to avoid specific language signalling any change in the policy stance", the British bank added.

Market participants will also be tracking the minutes of the Bank of England's (BoE) latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting, due out at 9:30 hrs GMT.

Investors will be looking for hints as to whether the BoE could be looking to increase interest rates.

Earlier, speaking at the National Economists Club in Washington DC, Fed chief Ben Bernanke said the Fed would start trimming its bond buys only when it was sure that improvements in the US labour market would sustain.

The outgoing central bank chief also said that short-term interest rates could remain low "well after" the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%.

Reading from a prepared statement, Bernanke said: "the FOMC remains committed to maintaining highly accommodative policies for as long as they are needed".

"I agree with the sentiment, expressed by my colleague Janet Yellen at her testimony last week, that the surest path to a more normal approach to monetary policy is to do all we can today to promote a more robust recovery,'' he added.

In Asia

The Shanghai Composite finished 0.62% higher on 20 November.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.84% lower, South Korea's Kospi finished 0.71% lower and the Japanese Nikkei finished 0.33% lower.

Earlier, markets outside China traded lower as investors digested downbeat global growth projections from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Investor sentiment in China continued to remain positive on the back of the recently announced reforms package.

The OECD predicted even lower global growth on 19 November.

The Paris-based organisation said the world economy would grow at a 2.7% rate this year, before accelerating to a 3.6% rate in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015, which is more modest than OECD predictions made in May.

The 34-nation club highlighted the need to strike a balance with the US Federal Reserve's winding-down of asset purchases and the impact this could have on vulnerable emerging market economies.

The news weighed down on most Asian markets, where market players brushed aside dovish comments by Fed chief Bernanke.

Wall Street Down

On Wall Street, indices ended slightly lower on 19 November, pulled down by industrial and consumer goods.

The Dow finished 8.99 points lower or 0.1% at 15,967.03.

The S&P 500 closed 3.66 points lower or 0.2% at 1,787.87.

The Nasdaq ended 17.51 points lower or 0.4% at 3,931.55.