European stocks were higher on Wednesday, ahead of the release of German business climate data and as markets awaited the Federal Reserve''s policy statement later in the day.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.33%, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.37%, while Germany’s DAX 30 climbed 0.58%.
Investors remained wary ahead of the outcome of the Fed’s final policy meeting of the year, with some expecting the bank to announce a small reduction in the pace of its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.
However, many believe that the bank will wait until early next year to start rolling back stimulus, despite recent indications the U.S. economic recovery is deepening.
Financial stocks were mostly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 0.36% and 0.92%, although Germany''s Deutsche Bank tumbled 0.94%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander rose 0.50% and 0.30% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit advanced 0.42% and 0.87%.
Elsewhere, Elektrobit soared 17.14% after increasing its full-year profit forecast.
Meanwhile, Paris-based Technip plummeted 7.78% after saying it expects a weaker profit margin at its subsea division next year.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.34%, supported by gains in the mining sector.
Shares in BHP Billiton climbed 0.81% and Astrazaneca jumped 1.10%, while rival company Rio Tinto led gains with shares surging 1.60%.
Also on the upside, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment rallied 1.30% after the online gambling company said its outlook for next year remained positive.
In the financial sector, stocks were also mostly higher as the Royal Bank of Scotland edged up 0.19% and HSBC Holdings added 0.29%, while Barclays climbed 0.57%. Lloyds Banking underperformed however, down 0.08%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.24% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.25% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.19% gain.
Later in the day, the Ifo Institute is to publish a report on German business climate. The U.S. was to release data on building permits and housing starts.
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