Europe closes higher, energy stocks bounce back

European shares closed higher on Wednesday, as banking stocks with a heavy exposure to Russia pared losses and energy stocks rebounded as oil prices recovered some ground.

Banks weigh


The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index ticked higher to close up around 0.3 percent, following another volatile day of trading.

London's FTSE closed 0.3 percent higher, Germany's DAX unofficially ended flat and the French CAC closed up around 0.46 percent.

Energy and mining stocks were the major outperformers, despite opening the session in negative territory.

Russia-exposed stocks were the major laggards, with Russia's economic turmoil remaining at the forefront of investors' minds. Lenders like Raiffeisenbank and Societe Generale saw heavy losses on Wednesday before pulling back.

Global markets are watching to see what the government will do to halt the ruble's slide, following an hike in the key interest rate to 17 percent. The country's finance ministry announced on Wednesday morning that it had started selling its foreign currency stock, which gave the currency a boost.

Looking analysts believe that Russia's authorities might soon be forced to implement capital controls to stop a longer-term rout.

Fed ahead

The Federal Reserve's monthly meeting is taking place on Wednesday, with the central bank's statement and economic forecasts due at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a briefing by Fed Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m.

The Fed is widely expected to tweak the language in its statement by removing the phrase "considerable time," in reference to how long it intends to keep rates low.

In the euro zone, Greeks go to the polls for the first of three rounds in a presidential election Wednesday, which has raised fears of renewed turbulence in the country. If a president is not elected after the rounds of voting, a general election will automatically be called.

U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 bouncing back from a three-session drop, as investors bet that the Fed would continue to support the U.S. economy while readying for an interest-rate hike.

Energy producers led Wall Street gains, and the price of oil turned higher.

Dixons Carphone climbs

On the economic data front, wages in the U.K. showed a promising increase in the three months to October, according to an official reading.

Average weekly earnings rose 1.4 percent year-on-year over the three month period to the end of September, the Office for National Statistics said, beating analyst expectations of a 1.2 percent rise.

In stocks news, shares of Dixons Carphone rose as much as 3.8 percent after the U.K. electronics retailer reported a 30 percent climb in first-half profit.

Meanwhile, shares of Hermes surged around 7 percent after the French company LVMH distributed its stake in the firm to its shareholders.

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