Europe Markets

Europe closes slightly up; central banks in focus


European shares closed slightly up on Wednesday, after wavering throughout the day, as investors looked towards central bank policy.

BNP Paribas falls

The pan-European FTSEurofirst300 Index closed provisionally 0.5 percent higher at 1,364.12 points.

It had been boosted by shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk's shares, which rose after Denmark's biggest company reported profits that beat forecasts. Its shares closed up around 3 percent.

U.S. stocks were also higher, ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting which will offer clues on the bank's assessment of the health of the economy and policy moves ahead.

Macro picture weighs

Macroeconomic uncertainty continued to weigh on investors.

In Europe, the minutes of the latest Bank of England policy meeting showed that some policymakers were starting to think of voting for an interest rate rise.

"For some members, the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced," the minutes said.

Read MoreBoE officials move towards voting for rate rise

Asian equities had been mixed on Wednesday, following a Bank of Japan monetary policy decision, and as traders focused on political developments in Thailand.

Read MoreBank of Japan grows more confident of economy

Volvo shares slip

In other stocks news, reports Pfizer's bid for AstraZeneca could still be alive boosted the U.K. drug makers shares, which closed up around 3%.

Volvo shares closed down around 1 percent after it reported that weak demand from South America had meant shipments had fallen 1 percent compared to last year.

Shares in French lender BNP Paribas closed down after Bloomberg reported that U.S. authorities are seeking to fine the bank. Citing sources familiar with the matter, it said that the fine could be around $5 billion following investigations into the lender's alleged sanctions violations.

Meanwhile, luxury goods company Burberry released its full-year results, reporting a hike in sales and pre-tax profit, in the first set of results published since new CEO Christopher Bailey took the helm.

Read MoreBurberry tops estimates as new boss takes helm

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