European equities closed higher Wednesday afternoon as investors focused on further earnings reports and data releases.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.16 percent higher, although business sectors and major bourses were pointing in different directions. The close demonstrated a swing to the upside, given that markets were trading mostly negatively earlier in the afternoon.
Basic resources rallied to close 1.6 percent higher, making it the best performing sector. Miner Glencore topped the European benchmark after saying its 2017 full-year results were the best ever on record with an overall adjusted profit of $14.76 billion, Reuters reported. The stock closed 5.2 percent higher.
Financial services and travel also did well, closing up 0.94 and 0.92 percent respectively. In the former sector, Deutsche Boerse finished up 2.9 percent. At a press conference, the German stock exchange operator's new CEO said that his company was targeting a quarter of the euro clearing market from London as Brexit gets underway, Reuters reported.
Technology equities closed just below the flat line, recovering losses made earlier in the day on earnings news. The French IT services firm Atos reported a net profit increase of 11 percent, slightly below analyst expectations. The stock closed 5.4 percent lower.
Oil and gas stocks were also slightly in the red, closing 0.18 percent lower. They also recovered earlier losses, this time caused by ratings downgrades. Siemens Gamesa, for example, closed 1.7 percent lower after JP Morgan cut the stock to underweight.
Metro Bank struggled to convince investors on Wednesday despite announcing higher targets for 2020 and 12 new branches by the end of the year. The stock closed 2.9 percent lower, although this was an improvement on trading earlier in the day.
Lloyds Bank reported its highest pre-tax profit in more than 10 years and announced a share buyback of up to £1 billion ($1.40 billion). The stock ended trading 2.7 percent to the upside.
In terms of data, manufacturing and services PMIs out in the euro zone showed growth in the region slowed down in February. Claus Vistesen, chief euro zone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note that "momentum is slowing, but remains strong overall."
U.S. opens higher
U.S. stocks were trading higher on Wednesday, with investors awaiting the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting. The major averages were pushed higher by a rise in industrial and financials stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average was trading up by 150 points.