Europe Markets

Europe ends mixed; earnings in focus ahead of ECB

Europe ends mixed; earnings in focus ahead of ECB

European equities ended trade mixed on Wednesday as investors digested a mixed bag of earnings, ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed roughly flat, in what has been a seesaw day of trade.

France's CAC and Germany's DAX finished trade in positive territory, however the London's FTSE 100 closed just above the flat line.

A subject that is expected to come up at the ECB meeting, which is being held in Malta rather than Frankfurt this month, is whether the bank needs to increase its 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) bond-buying program.

The euro zone is currently in deflation territory, demonstrating that it could do with more of a helping hand from the central bank.

Read MoreKeep ECB QE going: Malta FinMin

U.S. equities traded in a narrow range Wednesday, as investors took in fresh corporate earnings, while Asian stocks diverged on Wednesday, as China posted its worst one-day performance in five weeks. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended higher, unaffected by poor September exports data.

Credit Suisse in capital raise; Syngenta CEO resigns

Credit Suisse - Switzerland's second biggest bank - said it is to raise a total of 6.05 billion Swiss francs ($6.2 billion) in fresh capital, as its new chief executive tries to address investors' concerns.

Read MoreCredit Suisse to raise $6B as new CEO rings changes

The Zurich-based bank also reported net income for the three months to September 30 of 779 billion Swiss francs, and core pre-tax profit of 861 million Swiss francs. Shares in the lender were as much as 5 percent lower during trade, but closed 3.6 percent down.

In other Swiss company news, the chief executive of pesticide maker Syngenta Mike Mack said he will step down at the end of October. Mack said it was an "appropriate time for the company to benefit from the perspectives of a new leader". The move sent shares to close sharply higher, up 6.3 percent.

Earnings: Pearson, Home retail tank 16%

In other earnings, British chipmaker ARM - whose technology is in Apple's iPhones - reported a 27 percent year-on-year rise in third quarter pre-tax profit. Shares rallied to close up 6.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Reckitt Benckiser saw shares closing up 2.5 percent, after it said like-for-like sales rose 7 percent in the third quarter, helped by its consumer health and hygiene segment with brands such as Durex condoms and Dettol.

European pay-TV group Sky reported a better than expected 10 percent jump in operating profit for the first quarter, causing shares to jump 2.5 percent at the close.

Floor Governor Peter Giacchi announces the opening price for the IPO of Ferrari on the floor of New York Stock Exchange October 21, 2015.
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On the other end, Educational group Pearson said it sees its 2015 earnings at the bottom end of its range after the disposal of several of its assets, including the Financial Times newspaper. This sent shares to close almost 16 percent lower.

London-listed Home Retail Group - the owner of Homebase and Argos - warned that its full-year profit before tax will be slightly below the bottom end of the current range of market expectations of £115 million to £140 million due to "trading uncertainty" during this year's Christmas season. This prompted a sell-off of the stock with the price tanking 15.8 percent.

Elsewhere, Europe's competition chief ordered Luxembourg to recover 20-30 million euros in back taxes from Fiat Chrysler on Wednesday, saying their favorable tax arrangements breached the bloc's rules. This sent shares in Fiat Chrysler to sink 5.3 percent down.

The continued pressure on commodities prices on concern over the health of the Chinese economy also sent some names in the mining and oil sector lower, including Glencore, Anglo American and Tullow Oil.

Oil prices also had a turbulent day, dealing with oversupply concerns and China fears. Both Brent and U.S. crude fell during trade, standing at the close around $48.17 and $45.58 respectively.