Investing.com - European stocks pushed higher on Wednesday, after European finance ministers reached the basis of an agreement to wind down failing banks and share the costs, while U.S. lawmakers reached a deal to fund the government past mid-January.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.23%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.68%, while Germany's DAX 30 added 0.17%.
On Tuesday, European Union finance ministers were said to have moved closer to an agreement on a European banking union, a measure which is seen as key in fending off a repeat of the region's financial crisis.
Separately, U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to reduce automatic spending cuts and the deficit levels by USD23 billion over two years. The agreement still needs to be voted by the House of Representatives on Friday, as well as a by the Senate shortly after.
But investors remained cautious amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off on tapering its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program at its upcoming policy meeting scheduled for December 17-18, despite last week's strong U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
Financial stocks turned broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 0.64% and 0.29%, although Germany's Deutsche Bank slid 0.47%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander rose 0.07% and 0.52% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo added 0.14% and 0.15%.
Elsewhere, financial-services company Mediolanum plumged 4.91% after its largest investor sold a 5.6% stake.
In London, FTSE 100 edged up 0.25%, despite losses in the financial and mining sectors.
Shares in Barclays slid 0.32% and Lloyds Banking tumbled 1.53%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland plummeted 2.25% after Nathan Bostock resigned after two months as chief financial officer.
HSBC Holdings still overperformed on the other hand, up 0.44%.
In the mining sector, Rio Tinto dropped 0.54% and BHP Billiton retreated 0.58%, while Randgold Resources lost 1.88%.
Adding to losses, Imagination Technologies Group dove 18.43% after the designer of chip technology for phones and tablets half-year reported sales that missed analysts' estimates.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.05% slip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.05% dip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.08% loss.
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