The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.3%, with the majority of sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
The FTSE 100 in London was the outlier in Europe, slipping around three quarters of one percent as the pound moved away from recent lows.
European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX
Trade is also on investors’ minds, after U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to threaten “no deal at all” with China if it seeks to wait out his first term to finalize any trade deal.
U.S. negotiators met with Chinese representatives in Shanghai for the first time since a truce was agreed between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in May.
The two sides discussed China increasing its purchases of American agricultural goods, according to Chinese state-run media, as well as the U.S. creating “favorable conditions” for China. The next round of high-level talks will take place in the U.S. in September.
On the data front, European Union statistics released Wednesday showed that euro zone economic growth halved in the period from April to June and inflation slowed sharply in July, despite unemployment falling to its lowest in 11 years.
On Wall Street, stocks were little changed ahead of the Fed decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was barely below the flatline while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes pointed in opposite directions.
Earnings in focus
BNP Paribas posted a net profit for the quarter of 2.47 billion euros ($2.76 billion), also beating expectations on the back of strong growth in its corporate and investment banking unit. Shares of France’s largest bank climbed over 2%.
Belgian materials and recycling group Umicore and British retailer Next saw their shares climb by around 10% and 8% respectively following strong earnings announcements.
British property developer Hammerson fell 11% to the bottom of the European blue chip index in afternoon trade after reporting a £319.8 million loss for the first half of 2019.
Air France KLM shares traded 8% higher after its second-quarter earnings and the announcement that members of its pilots’ union had voted in favor of the development of a new low cost airline, Transavia France.