European shares closed narrowly higher on Wednesday, having paused after rallying on Tuesday due to waning fears of imminent military action in Syria.
The pan-European FSTEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally up 0.1 percent at 1,245.40 points.
President Barack Obama told the American public that he would work with U.S. allies to force Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. During a televised speech from the White House, Obama voiced skepticism that such a strategy would work, however, and urged war-weary Americans to support his threat to use military force. His comments came after the Syrian regime accepted Moscow's proposal to give up its weapon stockpile in a bid to avoid a U.S. strike.
Shares of ARM Holdings — a supplier for Apple — posted gains that peaked at 5.1 percent, after the launch of two new devices by the U.S. tech giant. This bullish sentiment came despite disappointment over the pricing of the iPhone 5C, with fears that the price tag is too high and may limit sales in key emerging markets. Shares of other Apple suppliers slumped on Wednesday and Apple itself tumbled nearly 5 percent.
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In Europe, German data showed that inflation had slowed sharply in the month of August. Year-on-year consumer prices came in at 1.5 percent versus 1.9 percent for July.
In the U.K., official figures showed the unemployment rate in the three months to July fell to 7.7 percent from 7.8 percent. Sterling rallied after the news, and 10-year gilt yields briefly hit fresh two-year highs. The Bank of England has set a 7 percent unemployment rate threshold for raising interest rates, and this tick lower in unemployment was seen by some investors as the reason behind the sell-off in treasuries.
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