Investing.com - European stocks turned mixed to higher on Wednesday, as investors continued to eye the Federal Reserve''s monthly policy statement, expected later in the day and as markets continued to monitor developments between Russia and Ukraine.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.32%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.12%, while Germany’s DAX 30 climbed 0.68%.
The U.S. central bank was widely expected to continue to roll back its bond purchasing program by $10 billion at the conclusion of its monthly meeting later Wednesday, the first with Janet Yellen at the helm.
Market sentiment had strengthened on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia isn''t seeking "a partition of Ukraine", signaling that Russia''s moves in Ukraine would be limited.
The comments came during a speech to a joint session of parliament in Moscow, a day after the president recognized the results of Sunday''s referendum in Crimea, which saw a majority of voters chose to split from Ukraine.
Financial stocks remained mixed, as BNP Paribas declined 0.62% and Societe Generale added 0.16% in France, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank jumped 1.84%.
Among peripheral lenders, Unicredit slipped 0.27% and Intesa Sanpaolo gained 0.85% in Italy, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA lost 0.30% and 0.36% respectively.
Elsewhere, Inditex surged 3.66% after the Spanish retailer reported rising revenue in the first six weeks of the fiscal year and said it will start online sales in additional markets.
Adding to gains, BMW shares rallied 5.80% as the German carmaker said it expected to see higher car sales and profits in the year ahead.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 dipped 0.03%, still weighed by losses in the mining sector. Separately, data showed that the U.K. unemployment rate remained steady in the three months to January, while the claimant count fell.
Shares in Vedanta Resources and Rio Tinto declined 0.42% and 0.20% respectively, while Glencore Xstrata tumbled 1.22% and Antofagasta plunged 3.35%.
Meanwhile, Ophir Energy dove 18.72% after saying drilling operations at its Padouck Deep-1 well offshore Gabon yielded no significant amount of hydrocarbons. Chief Executive Officer Nick Cooper said in a statement that the failure was "disappointing."
Financial stocks also remained mostly lower, as Lloyds Banking fell 0.28% and HSBC Holdings retreated 0.89%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland lost 0.96%.
Barclays continued to overperform, up 2.86%, amid reports the U.K. lender will seek offers in the next month for its Index, Portfolio and Risk Solutions unit in a sale that could fetch $400 million.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.08% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.10% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.19% increase.
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