Investing.com - European stocks were higher on Wednesday, helped by positive earnings reports and as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's policy decision due later in the day.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 advanced 0.58%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.77%, while Germany's DAX 30 climbed 0.84%.
Markets were digesting a number of recent remarks and policy decisions by new U.S. President Donald Trump.
The remarks indicated that the new administration is focusing on currencies as part of its approach in relation to trade.
Investors also remained cautious following Trump's controversial travel ban, which sparked widespread protests in the U.S. and led to the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday, after she told justice department lawyers not to defend it.
Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) gained 0.75% and 1.05%, while Germany's Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) and Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) rallied 1.43% and 1.80%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) rose 0.37% and 0.32% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MC:SAN) jumped 0.74% and 1.28%.
In earnings news, Swiss private bank Julius Baer Gruppe AG (SIX:BAER) reported a 12% climb in its assets under management for 2016, sending the stock up 5.32%.
Roche Holding AG (SIX:ROG) was little changed, with shares up only 0.04% after the Swiss health care firm announced a 5% increase in its core operating profit for last year.
Volvo, AB ser. B (ST:VOLVb) shares surged 6.18% after the Swedish carmaker said fourth-quarter net profit exceeded analysts' expectations, helped by cost reductions and productivity improvements.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 advanced 0.71%, boosted by gains in the mining sector.
Shares in Glencore (LON:GLEN) climbed 1.03% and Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) rallied 1.68%, while rival company BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) surged 1.77%.
Financial stocks were also on the upside, as the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) gained 0.41% and Barclays (LON:BARC) climbed 0.43%, while HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) advanced 0.65% and Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) rallied 1.16%.
Meanwhile, Dixons Carphone (LON:DC) saw shares retreat 0.95% after Sir Charles Dunstone said he would be stepping down as the chairman of the company to assume the role of executive chairman at telecoms group TalkTalk (LON:TALK).
The move comes as TalkTalk, whose shares surged 6.59%, also revealed its chief executive is to leave in May.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.16% gain, S&P 500 futures showed a 0.19% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.46% climb.
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