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European stocks close higher amid earnings; Apple suppliers rise

  • Shares of chipmakers rallied after Apple reported strong second-quarter earnings.
  • Market expectations suggest that there will be no new rate hikes in the U.S. Wednesday.
  • Euro zone manufacturing PMIs showed a slight slow down in activity.

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors kept their focus on earnings and monitored an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally more than 0.6 percent higher with most sectors trading in positive territory. Basic resources were the top-performing sector, up by almost 2.8 percent, on earnings.

Tech stocks were among the top performers. Shares of chipmakers Austria Microsystems and STMicroelectronics rallied after Apple reported strong second-quarter earnings.

Looking across the benchmark, Inmarsat rose more than 8 percent as demand for Wi-Fi on flights aided its first-quarter results. Novo Nordisk saw its shares up by more than 4 percent on earnings. The drugmaker beat expectations in its first quarter.

Paddy Power Betfair sank to the bottom of the index, down by almost 5.6 percent. The company reported a 6 percent drop in earnings for the first quarter on higher taxes in the U.S.

On Wall Street, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index opened higher, boosted by Apple's strong quarterly results.

The Federal Reserve is due to conclude a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. Market expectations suggest that there will be no new rate hikes in the U.S., but analysts will be looking for indications as to whether that will happen shortly.

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In Brussels, the European Commission proposed a bigger budget for the soon-to-be 27 member bloc. The proposal, which will apply from 2021 to 2027, aims to cut farm subsidies and increase spending on research and technology.

In terms of data, euro zone manufacturing PMIs showed a slight slow down in activity. The final March reading came in at 56.2, which represented a 13-month low. The data comes a time when many analysts have started wondering about a potential economic slowdown in the euro area.