European stocks close higher after Fed Chair Powell's comments; FTSE touches record high

This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European markets were higher on Wednesday, as investors digested the latest comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell alongside a mix of corporate earnings.

Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 hit a fresh intraday record high shortly after markets opened in Europe, rising by 0.8% to 7,925.02. It then pared gains to end the day 0.3% higher, closing below 7,900.

The index had hit its previous intraday record high of 7,906.58 on Friday.

The wider European Stoxx 600 index also trimmed its earlier gains to provisionally finish the session up 0.3%. Oil and gas stocks led increases, up by 1.6%.

European markets

Speaking at an event at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Powell said Tuesday that inflation is beginning to ease but that he expects the "disinflationary process" to be a long one, and cautioned that interest rates could rise more than markets anticipate if the economic data doesn't cooperate.

The major U.S. averages initially jumped during the remarks, before briefly falling into negative territory, and then closing higher.

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday, as investors turned their attention to corporate earnings. Meanwhile Asia-Pacific markets were mixed.

European markets close higher

Europe's Stoxx 600 closed 0.3% higher on Wednesday, with sectors and bourses a mixed bag, as investors digested corporate earnings and Tuesday's speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

The U.K. FTSE 100 closed 0.25% higher, pulling back after touching an intraday record high earlier in the session. Germany's DAX rose by 0.6% and France's CAC 40 fell 0.2%.

Among sectors, energy stocks gained 1.6% and construction fell 1.25%.

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Stoxx 600 index chart.

— Jenni Reid

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