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Europe markets close higher as crude pares losses

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European markets closed higher on Wednesday, as investor sentiment was buoyed by oil prices which pared earlier losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 hovered around the flat line in afternoon trade, before turning positive to close around 0.5 percent higher.

The London FTSE 100, the French CAC and the German DAX ended provisionally higher by 0.2 percent, 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Oil in focus

Brent and U.S. crude oil futures fell 1 percent in late trade before paring losses. This occurred after U.S. data showed the country's crude inventories had risen by less than expected.

Shares of Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton posted strong gains, rallying by at least three percent after Investec raised its target price on these stocks.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen's stock was among the top performers, gaining around 6.6 percent on hopes of a resolution to its emissions-test-rigging case with U.S. authorities. Volkswagen-owned luxury carmaker Porsche closed more than 6 percent higher as a result.

ABB shares rise

ABB's CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer told CNBC Wednesday that the company had performed "quite well" in its first quarter, despite tough market conditions. Shares closed around 3.8 percent higher after the firm said it had improved its margin and increased cash flow by $200 million.

Shares of Europe's largest hotelier, AccorHotels rose by over 5 percent after its like-for-like sales rose by 1.9 percent in its first quarter. The company said demand was "strong" in most markets.

Overseas, Asia markets closed mostly lower, dragged down by weak performance in China's mainland markets.U.S. stocks were higher as investors digested more quarterly earning reports.

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