- European stocks were mixed to 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 afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.20%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.01%, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.14%.

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 remained mostly higher, as Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) climbed 0.56% and French lender BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) rose 0.29%. Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) underperformed however, down 0.35%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) rose 0.37% and 0.38% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) added 0.05% and 0.40%.

Elsewhere, Hennes & Mauritz (ST:HMb) climbed 0.41% 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) trimmed gains but was still up 0.03%, following reports the German defense company plans to sign a €2.7 billion tank deal with Algeria.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.31%, still supported by gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) advanced 0.84% and 0.72% respectively, while Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) jumped 0.98%.

Financial stocks also remained mostly higher, as Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) edged up 0.10% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) added 0.15%, while HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) gained 0.51%. Barclays (LONDON:BARC) held steady on the other hand, down 0.03%.

Meanwhile, Ryanair Holdings (LONDON:RYA) tumbled 1.56% after its sales chief said the airline is interested in buying a 20% stake in Spanish airports operator Aena Aeropuertos.

Also in the U.K., the Bank of England’s June meeting showed that while the case for a rate increase is becoming more balanced more slack still needs to be absorbed from the economy.

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 0.03% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.13% rise.

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