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European equities ended mixed on Wednesday. A rally in mining and oil stocks boosted sentiment but Volkswagen shares dragged the DAX lower.
The sharp drop in Volkswagen shares also weighed on the automotive sector, which closed down over 2 percent. The German DAX, which bucked Europe's positive trend, ended 1 percent lower. The STOXX Europe 600 index finished the day provisionally up 0.5 percent.
A rebound in Chinese services PMI helped to buoy overall sentiment, however. Asia closed sharply higher on Wednesday and Europe followed suit with gains in the morning session. In the U.S. stocks traded lower in a narrow range as investors looked for more clues on the timing of a rate hike from a slew of data and Federal Reserve speakers.
Volkswagen tanked 9.5 percent, after the embattled automaker admitted another fault with its cars. On Tuesday, VW said it had uncovered "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emission emissions from 800,000 of its cars. The automaker said from initial estimates, the economic risks of the irregularities detected roughly amount to around 2 billion euros ($2.19 billion). Other automakers took a tumble, with VW-owned Porsche closing down 8 percent, and German cars Daimler and BMW sharply lower.
Elsewhere, Glencore saw shares jump to the top of the STOXX 600 during trade, before paring gains to close 5.3 percent. The miner said Wednesday that it was on track to reduce its debt and boost liquidity thanks to asset sales. Other resources firms also got a boost, with Anglo American shares soaring over 3 percent, and BHP Billiton ending up 1 percent.
Oil prices slumped around Wednesday's close—failing to maintain Tuesday's sharp rally—after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported commercial crude stockpiles had risen for a sixth straight week. Consequently, Brent trading over 3 percent down at $48.76 and U.S. crude stood at $46.44 around the close.
Marks and Spencer shares ended 2.8 percent higher after the British retailer raised its margin outlook for the year. Other British retailers, including Morrisons and Sainsbury got a sharp boost from this, both closing up over 2 percent.
Dutch banking company, ING saw shares post sharp gains during trade before closing up 2 percent. The firm posted third-quarter results which were slightly above analysts' expectations on Wednesday, as provisions for bad loans fell in the Dutch market and net interest income increased, according to Reuters.
The world's third largest platinum miner, Lonmin, urged shareholders to approve a $400 million equity cash call at a meeting to be held next week, saying the injection was crucial to the company's survival. Shares in the London-listed firm slipped to close 8.8 percent lower on the news.
Just over half (55 percent) of the companies listed on the STOXX Europe 600 having reported earnings so far this quarter, with 49 percent having beaten or met expectations. 51 percent of companies have missed forecasts, according to Reuters.