European stocks closed higher Wednesday afternoon, amid a global rally, as investor sentiment was buoyed by a slew of corporate earnings.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.45 percent provisionally. The German DAX made the biggest gains of the major European bourses, up 1.78 percent for the session. The DAX rallied after being closed for trading Tuesday. Volkswagen topped the bourse, with its stock hitting pre-emissions scandal levels for the first time, closing up 4.8 percent after a price upgrade and upbeat sales data.
Basic resources stocks were the top performing sector, trading up by 2.7 percent, following positive manufacturing data released in China. Metal prices also posted strong gains. Meanwhile, in earnings news Nokian posted sales and operating profit above expectations for its third quarter, which sent shares of the tyremaker up by 4 percent. The stock revered those gains later in the day and closed flat.
Retail stocks closed down over 1 percent on disappointing outlooks for the industry. The British retailer Next tumbled to the bottom of the European benchmark, closing down over 9 percent after announcing that trading remained "extremely volatile," though sales rose in the third quarter of the year. Fellow U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer also closed in the red, the second worst performing retail stock at -4.4 percent.
Standard Chartered more than doubled its net profits in the third quarter of the year, but shares ended the day's trading over 6 percent lower as investors raised concerns over its recovery plan. The bank was near the bottom of the STOXX 600.
In other market news, the pharmaceutical firm Indivior rose to the top of the European benchmark, up by nearly 8 percent after receiving approval for a new drug for opioid addiction treatment.
U.S. equities were trading at record highs just as the Federal Reserve is set to announce its latest monetary policy decision. Although markets are not expecting a rate hike, the meeting could be the last before President Donald Trump announces who is going to replace current chair Janet Yellen.
Fed Governor Jerome Powell is the odds-on favorite for the top job at the U.S. central bank. Investors will also be watching the Fed for clues on a possible December interest rate rise.
Overnight, eight people died in a terrorist attack in Manhattan, New York. An Uzbek immigrant is accused of mowing down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path, leaving a dozen others injured. According to the NYPD, the man had been plotting the attack for "a number of weeks." President Trump, who dubbed the incident "a terrorist attack," said the act was carried by a "sick and deranged person."