Investing.com - European stocks edged higher on Wednesday, as investors eyed the Federal Reserve''s upcoming policy statement due later in the day, although concerns over events in Iraq persisted.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.26%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.13%, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.13%.
Investors were looking ahead to the Fed''s post-policy meeting press conference with Chair Janet Yellen later Wednesday, as they awaited fresh indications on the timing of possible interest rate increases.
The Fed was expected to cut its asset purchase program by another $10 billion, but is not expected to raise borrowing costs until mid-2015.
Meanwhile, concerns over the ongoing Sunni insurgency in Iraq continued to weigh on market sentiment, amid fears over the impact of higher oil prices on global economic growth.
Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) added 0.12% and 0.44%, while Germany''s Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) edged up 0.08%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) rose 0.16% and 0.52% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) gained 0.17% and 0.38%.
Elsewhere, Hennes & Mauritz (ST:HMb) climbed 0.62% after the clothing retailer reported the strongest quarterly profit growth in more than four years as new store formats and online expansion supported sales growth.
Rheinmetall (XETRA:RHMG) added to gains, up 0.71%, following reports the German defense company plans to sign a €2.7 billion tank deal with Algeria.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.29%, supported by gains in the mining sector.
Shares in Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) advanced 0.42% and 0.60% respectively, while Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) climbed 0.56% and Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) led gains on the index with shares rallying 1.09%.
Financial stocks were also on the upside, as the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) added 0.32% and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) climbed 0.47%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) advanced 0.60% and 0.63% respectively.
On the downside, Ryanair Holdings (LONDON:RYA) dropped 0.45% after its sales chief said the airline is interested in buying a 20% stake in Spanish airports operator Aena Aeropuertos.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady to higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.01% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.01% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.13% rise.
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