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Europe stocks end higher; Societe Generale up 7.9%

European stock markets finished trade higher on Wednesday, following a bumper day of earnings.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed around 1.3 percent higher, with all major sectors and country bourses—bar Greece—closing up.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index ended around 1.0 percent higher, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC both ended sharply higher by around 1.6 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Italy's FTSE MIB also performed well, ending up 1.9 percent.

Greece's benchmark Athens Composite was the only index to close in the red, down 2.5 percent. Greece's banking stocks continued to get hammered, with Alpha Bank and Bank of Piraeus plunging over 29.5 percent.

Earnings continued to keep investors on their feet. Societe Generale, the second-biggest French bank, reported slightly better-than-forecast earnings on Wednesday and said it would target higher cost savings and capital levels. Shares in the bank surged to the top of the STOXX 600, finishing 7.9 percent higher.


Investors also reacted positively to the news that Italy's Mediobanca would buy Cairn Capital from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Shares of Mediobanca closed 1.8 percent higher; RBS closed 2.3 percent higher.

On the other hand, shares in ING closed 3.5 percent lower after the Dutch bank posted second-quarter earnings that were in line with analyst expectations, with loans and deposits growing amid a European recovery.

U.S. stocks traded higher on Wednesday as investors digested earnings and data amid mixed comments from Federal Reserve speakers on the timing of a rate hike.

Fed Governor Jerome Powell told CNBC on Wednesday that the labor market continued to be strong, but that he had not decided yet whether interest rates should be raised next month.