Chloe Taylor, Sam Meredith
European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX
Europe's auto stocks were among the worst performers, down more than 1% after Nissan slashed its full-year profit forecast to a near-decade low. The Japanese automaker said Wednesday it now expects operating profit for the year ended March to drop 45% versus a year earlier to 318 billion yen ($2.84 billion) — that's down from a previous forecast of 450 billion yen. Fiat Chrysler and Valeo slipped more than 1% on the news, while Renault was down more than 4%.
Meanwhile, technology stocks gained more than 3% after Japan's Softbank Group said it would buy a 5.6% stake in payments firm Wirecard for around 900 million euros ($1 billion). Shares of the Munich-based firm jumped 13%.
The sector was also lifted by the news that the U.K. would allow Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to participate in its 5G network despite warnings from the U.S. that doing so could enable Chinese espionage.
Elsewhere, Credit Suisse reported an increase in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, beating analyst expectations. Switzerland's second-biggest bank reported a net income of 749 million Swiss francs ($733.93 million) for the first quarter of this year, an 8% increase year-on-year. However, shares of the lender edged into negative territory toward the end of the session.
France's Biomerieux tumbled toward the bottom of the European index Wednesday morning. It comes after the Paris-listed stock reported a moderate growth rate over the first three months of the year and confirmed its annual objectives. Shares of the company were down more than 7%.
Oil prices soared after the U.S. announced the end of six months of waivers that allowed Iran's eight biggest buyers to continue importing limited volumes of Iranian oil.