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Data helps Europe shares close higher; Asos climbs

Data helps Europe shares close higher; Asos climbs

European equities closed higher on Wednesday, following some positive economic data for the euro zone.

PMIs beat

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index finished 0.35 percent higher, after trading lower earlier in the session. All major bourses were in positive territory and most sectors posted modest gains.

Fresh data in the morning showed that manufacturing activity across the euro zone rose more than expected last month. Markit's final March manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) hit a 10-month high of 52.2.

The data added to signs of a recovery in the region, following the launch of the European Central Bank's aggressive quantitative easing program.

Read MoreEuro zone manufacturing picks up on export boost

U.S. stocks halved early-morning losses to trade moderately lower on Wednesday, as investors eyed softness in economic data ahead of Friday's important jobs report.

Greece in focus

In Greece, the government has failed to reach an initial deal on reforms with its lenders which could lead to the unlocking of desperately-needed financial aid.

On Wednesday, a government spokesman denied that it would delay a payment to the International Monetary Fund -- due on April 9 -- if it did not get fresh aid.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC Tuesday that Greece leaving the euro zone "may not be a bad thing for the euro. "

Read MoreNo 'bad thing' if Greece leaves euro: Warren Buffett

Asos rises

Investors paying premium for revenue growth: Analyst

Ahead of the U.K. election in May, 100 senior British business executives signed a letter to The Telegraph newspaper saying that the election of the center-left opposition Labour party would "threaten jobs and deter investment."

In individual stocks news, retailer ASOS reported a 10 percent fall in profit in its first-half results. However, the figures were better-than-expected and shares closed over 3 percent higher.

U.K.-listed transport group FirstGroup saw its shares climb to close around 7 percent higher as the company said it was on track to meet its full-year expectations.

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