European stock markets closed mixed on Wednesday, paring earlier gains reached after a German court ruled to back the permanent euro zone rescue fund.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,108.01 points, having at one stage reached an intraday peak of 1,115.90 points — its highest level since early July 2011.
Britain's FTSE 100 index provisionally closed 0.17 percent lower at 5782.08 points, while Italy's FTSE MIB index provisionally closed 1.19 percent higher at 16.419.79 points.
Banks helped push major European averages higher earlier in the sesion, after the German Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the proposed permanent euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
"We closed out some small short positions on the (French) CAC and the Euro STOXX. It's another building block for a better situation in Europe," Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu told Reuters.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso gave his “State of the Union” speech in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning. In his speech, Barroso called for a move towards a federation of nation states, a move which would ultimately require a new treaty.
He also presented proposals for a banking unionto tackle the region’s debt crisis, calling for a single supervisory mechanism.
In the Netherlands, general elections are being held on Wednesday which are being viewed as a vote on the country’s role in the euro zone debt crisis. Many Dutch citizens are growing tired of bailouts for southern European countries at a time when they face tough cuts to benefits at home.
Late on Wednesday, Britain's BAE Systems and , parent company of Airbus, confirmed they were in merger talks.
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