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European stocks close higher; Akzo Nobel CEO departs; Tele2 up 6%

Key Points
  • Swedbank, Tele2 and Volvo Group among the companies reporting Wednesday.
  • New reports reveal a previously undisclosed meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a G-20 dinner.
  • Akzo Nobel's chief executive Ton Beuchner to step down due to health reasons.

European stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors took stock of a series of corporate announcements from across the continent.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.77 percent with all sectors were trading in the black.

Technology stocks were the best performing, rising more than 2 percent, maintaining the upwards momentum seen since the start of the year. They were followed closely behind by household goods after Electrolux reported forecast-beating second-quarter results. The stock was more than 3 percent on the news.

The home appliance manufacturer was among several Swedish firms to dominate the top of the European benchmark in afternoon deals. Telecoms company Tele2 was up more than 6 percent after raising its 2017 core profit guidance on the back of strong second-quarter results. Swedbank was also higher on the back of forecast-beating results. Swedish truck manufacturer Volvo Group sunk more than 3 percent, however, after missing second-quarter truck margins.

Swedbank CEO: Won't see big changes until negative rates end

In other stocks news, BP announced Tuesday that it is considering an initial public offering of its U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast pipeline assets. This revives a plan first broached five years ago, before a major slump in crude prices. The stocks was little changed by the end of the trading day.

British consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser Group was up more than 1 percent after it was revealed that it would sell its foods business to McCormick & Co for $4.2 billion.

British defense technology company Qinetiq sunk to the bottom of the benchmark, down 9.5 percent, after reporting missing new order estimates. The news came as new data from IHS Markit pointed to an anticipated decline in defense exports in 2018.

Elsewhere, Akzo Nobel has said that its Chief Executive Ton Beuchner is to step down due to health reasons. He is to be replaced by current Chemicals Division Chief Thierry Vanlancker. The outgoing chief earlier this year repelled a takeover attempt from U.S. rival PPG Industries. The stock rose 0.5 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks traded higher on Wednesday as investors digested key housing data and more quarterly earnings.

The S&P 500 hit a record intraday high at the open, the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.38 percent and also notched a record high. The Dow Jones industrial average traded just above breakeven, with IBM shaving off 45 points from the index.

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