Sentiment in Europe appeared to be taking note from trading seen overseas during its session, with most U.S. stocks surging in Wall Street trade and Asian markets finishing their session mostly in the black. While market focus has been largely attuned to a rift between the U.S. and China as of late, that's not the only story that moved markets Wednesday.
Basic resources was the best performing group, soaring 3.13 percent by the close, lifted by a sharp rise in nickel and zinc prices. Among the sector's top performers were FTSE-listed mining stocks including Glencore, Antofagasta, Anglo American and BHP Billiton, which all closed up over 3 percent. Other sectors that posted sharp gains of more than 1 percent included autos, banks, chemicals and insurance.
In banking, however, Danske Bank fell 3.35 percent after the Danish lender's CEO resigned following allegations that billions of euros were laundered through the bank's Estonian branch. In autos, Schaeffler jumped 3 percent after it reconfirmed its guidance for the financial year of 2018.
In individual stock news, Linde shares surged 7.8 percent, after Reuters reported, citing a source, that the industrial gases firm was getting ready to sell extra assets to a consortium of Messer Group GmbH and CVC Capital Partners for around $200 million, moving it closer to U.S. antitrust approval for a planned merger with Praxair.
Kingfisher sank 6.3 percent, after the home improvement firm reported a 15 percent fall in half year profits. Adecco dropped 6.2 percent after the staffing group indicated a slowdown in European hiring growth, in its latest strategic update.
Finally, the European Union has ruled that McDonald's did not receive selective tax treatment from the tiny European country of Luxembourg. The EU said the tax deal was not illegal but rather a result of a mismatch between US and Luxembourg tax laws.