European bourses closed lower on Wednesday as optimism over earnings failed to offset concerns over trade tensions.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down 0.45 percent with the different sectors moving mostly lower. Automotive stocks led the losses, down 2.37 percent, and basic resources were among the worst performers, off by 1.61 percent, after reports that the Trump administration could slap a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods.
Looking across the benchmark, Telenet Group rose 6.61 percent, after proposing a gross dividend of about 5.2 euros per share. Air France-KLM also jumped 4.17 percent after posting results above expectations despite several workers' strikes during the quarter.
BBA Aviation was near the bottom of the index, off by 11.429 percent, after reporting a drop of 11 percent on pretax profit.
Stateside, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose Wednesday as shares of Apple soared on strong quarterly results. Traders are speculating whether Apple could be the first big tech giant to reach a $1 trillion market cap. The U.S. Federal Reserve is to release its decision on interests rates for the world's largest economy at 2 p.m. E.D.T.
French bank BNP Paribas published a 53 percent increase in net income in itssecond-quarter earnings report from the previous quarter. Shares were marginally lower. Rio Tinto reported a rise in first-half profit for 2018 of 12 percent year-on-year, and announced an additional share buyback and dividend hike. The stock nonetheless was off by 3.396 percent.
Data showed Wednesday that euro zone manufacturing growth remained subdued in July. The IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 55.1, after hitting 54.9 in June — a reading is positive if above 50. Trade tensions, tariffs and higher inflation were the main drivers of the lackluster performance.