European stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday ahead of the latest monetary policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve and better-than-expected U.K. economic data.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended Wednesday 0.43 percent up with most sectors in positive territory except for utilities, healthcare and food and beverages.
European markets are awaiting the latest decision from the Federal Open Market Committee which is scheduled to conclude its two-day meeting with its statement on monetary policy at 1400 ET. Traders do not expect the Fed to raise interest rates, but will watch for indications on the timing of the next hike.
In New York, U.S. stocks were trading mixed Wednesday, helped by positive reaction to some major earnings reports. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Index was barely up, 0.05 percent higher, while the broader S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent.
London's FTSE index ended the day 0.4 percent higher after preliminary second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) for the U.K. beat expectations. The U.K. economy grew 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter, above an expected 0.4 percent increase.
Earnings were also in focus for investors. Germany's Deutsche Bank reported a 98 percent drop in second-quarter net income from the same period last year, to 20 million euros ($22 million). Shares of the bank closed down 3.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Spanish bank Santander reported a near 50 percent drop in second-quarter net profit from the same quarter last year. However, shares of the bank closed up 2 percent.
Norwegian energy giant Statoil also reported a slump in earnings and cut capital expenditure guidance, prompting its share price to fall 3 percent.
Shares of British chip designer ARM Holdings ended Wednesday up 0.15 percent after the company, which earlier this month agreed to be bought by Japan's Softbank Group for $32 billion, reported a 5 percent rise in second-quarter profit on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
France's CAC index closed up 1.1 percent on Wednesday, boosted by earnings releases from LVMH, PSA Peugeot and Airbus. Carmaker Peugeot reported record first-half profits on Wednesday, Reuters reported, with net income more than doubling to 1.21 billion euros from 571 million a year earlier.
Meanwhile in Asia, Japanese stocks rebounded from Tuesday's sell-off as most Asian markets wavered on Wednesday ahead of key central bank decisions as well as major earnings reports due in Japan and South Korea.
In the U.S., the Democratic Party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, making her the first woman chosen by a major American party. The former secretary of state and first lady secured the 2,383 delegates needed to win with South Dakota's vote.
In U.S. business news, shares of Apple rose higher after hours as the company reported third-quarter iPhone sales that beat expectations. Meanwhile, Twitter revealed its worst quarterly revenue growth since its IPO. Shares of the social media site plunged over 11 percent in extended trade as a cautious outlook also disappointed investors.