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European markets close higher as third-quarter earnings roll in; Rio Tinto down 3%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.29 percent, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory
  • Politics continued to rumble on in the background, with investors waiting for the latest news surrounding Brexit and Catalonia

European markets closed higher Wednesday, as investors monitored the latest batch of earnings and economic data releases.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.29 percent, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
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FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Autos, food and beverages and media stocks were among the best performers Wednesday.

Looking at individual stocks, Dutch chemicals group Akzo Nobel posted its third-quarter results Wednesday, with the company anticipating positive developments for the EMEA region (except for the U.K.) and North America going forward; however added that "headwinds" are expected to continue. Its shares were down 1.84 percent.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Australian-British miner Rio Tinto and two of its former top executives with fraud Tuesday. The SEC stated that the execs had inflated the value of coal assets in Mozambique, which was acquired for $3.7 billion and sold years later for $50 million, according to Reuters. Its shares were down almost 3 percent as European markets closed for trading.

Meanwhile, a company spokesman at British supermarket group Sainsbury's confirmed to media outlets on Tuesday that the retailer was looking to cut up to 2,000 jobs. Its shares dipped more than 0.5 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 100 points after tech giant IBM reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Catalonia, Brexit

Politics continued to rumble on in the background on Wednesday, with investors waiting for the latest news surrounding Brexit and Catalonia.

Spain's IBEX eked out losses Wednesday afternoon after news emerged Tuesday that Catalonia refused to give in to the Spanish government's demand of renouncing its independence.

Meanwhile, Brexit continues to be up for discussion, with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May expected to speak with fellow leaders of the European Union on Thursday. Earlier this week, both May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for the pace of Brexit negotiations to be accelerated.

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Overseas, the Communist Party's once-every-five-year Party Congress kicked off on Wednesday, with President Xi Jinping commenting on a range of topics during his speech including corruption, the benefits of socialism, and why the "One China" principle should be maintained.

On the data front, wage growth across Britain continued to lag behind inflation despite the unemployment rate remaining at its lowest level in more than four decades. Average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.1 percent in the three months to August — down from 2.1 percent a month ago.

—Reuters contributed to this report.