European shares closed higher on Wednesday ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting in the U.S., with investors expecting an announcement on a new treasury purchase plan.
European finance ministers appeared to be near a consensus on financial reform and the creation of a pan-European banking union on Wednesday. A key potential stumbling block had been whether the European Central Bank would be able to veto any banking supervisor's decisions. EU leaders want to sign off on a deal at a summit on Thursday and Friday.
In Italy, the treasury completed a successful auction of 12-month short-term bills on Wednesday, which was the first since political uncertainly resurfaced in the country after incumbent President Mario Monti said he was stepping before his term ends.
In stocks news, the basic resources sector showed the most gains across Europe as commodity prices crept higher.
U.K. building supplier Travis Perkins released a trading statement highlighting it was on track to meet full-year targets but sees ongoing tough trading.
Also on Wednesday, the Renault-Nissan partnership signed a deal to expand into the Russian market in a joint venture with Lada-maker AvtoVAZ.
Car maker Peugeot announced jobs cuts at the firm; shares were higher.