After closing the last three sessions down, the Spanish stock index IBEX 35 opened with a slight upward bias on Wednesday, although it is not expected to see many movements, as it awaits two crucial dates for the future of monetary policy in the United States.

At the beginning of the afternoon (1230 GMT), the monthly US consumer price index (CPI) will be released, which will certainly influence the messages to be delivered later by the US Federal Reserve (from 1800 GMT).

Experts assume that the Fed will not touch interest rates (5.25%-5.50%) at this meeting, so the focus will be on forward-looking comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, as well as on the dot plot, a document that reflects where Fed members expect interest rates to be in the coming years.

"(...) we estimate that it could revise from the 3 cuts forecast for 2024 in March to just 2 (the market discounts between 1 and 2)," said analysts at the Renta 4 securities house.

"We recall that, in the 20-March 'dot plot', 9 of the 19 members considered that there could be less than 3 cuts this year, a number that could have increased in light of the latest macro data. The key will therefore be Powell's message, and we will see if he modifies the consensus forecasts in terms of the amount and pace of rate cuts," they added.

As for the CPI, analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average monthly increase of 0.3% in the underlying indicator (excluding energy and unprocessed food) and 0.1% in the general indicator. In the year-on-year figures, estimates point to growth of 3.4% in the general index and 3.5% in the underlying index.

Elsewhere, concerns remained over the early elections called in France, after the president of the French conservative party, The Republicans, called for an alliance between his party's candidates and Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN) party.

Against this backdrop, at 07:15 GMT on Wednesday, the selective Spanish stock market index IBEX 35 was up 21.00 points, or 0.19%, to 11,196.50 points, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of large European stocks was up 0.41%.

In the banking sector, Santander rose 1.12%, BBVA fell 0.77%, Caixabank advanced 0.90%, Sabadell fell 0.80%, Bankinter gained 0.49%, and Unicaja Banco rose 0.47%.

Among the large non-financial stocks, Telefónica fell 0.35%, Inditex dropped 0.07%, Iberdrola gained 0.21%, Cellnex gained 0.03%, and the oil company Repsol rose 0.55%.

(Information by Tomás Cobos; edited by Mireia Merino)