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European Stocks Close Higher on Strong Earnings, Traders Await Fed Decision; Wizz Air Up 8%

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  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 index climbed 0.7%, with tech shares leading the gains as most sectors and major bourses ended the session in positive territory.
  • Earnings were front and center for investors, with a slew of companies including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline releasing their results.
  • Shares of Wizz Air surged 8% after the low-cost carrier said it expects passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels by August.

LONDON — European stock markets closed higher on Wednesday amid a busy day for major corporate earnings, while investors awaited a key policy announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally closed up by 0.7%, with technology shares climbing 2.3% to lead the gains as most sectors and major bourses ended the session in positive territory.

Earnings were front and center for investors in Europe on Wednesday, with a slew of companies including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline releasing their results.

Stocks also got a boost from news that fully-vaccinated U.S. and EU travelers will soon be allowed to visit England without having to quarantine.

In other travel-related news, shares of Wizz Air surged 8% to the top of the Stoxx 600 after the low-cost carrier said it expects passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels by August.

Fed decision in focus

Shares in Asia closed mostly lower on Wednesday as Hong Kong's Hang Seng index attempted to rebound from a two-day rout.

On Wall Street, the major U.S. averages were mixed as investors reacted to a host of corporate results while awaiting the Fed's latest policy move.

Focus stateside will turn to the Federal Open Market Committee's interest rate decision and subsequent statement, with investors looking for clues as to the timeline for monetary policy tightening. A deluge of major corporate earnings is also expected in the U.S., with Facebook, McDonald's and Ford among those reporting on Wednesday.

Earnings galore

Deutsche Bank posted a massive profit beat for the second quarter, despite its all-important investment banking arm suffering a slide in revenues. The German lender reported a net income of 692 million euros ($818 million), smashing through analyst estimates of 328 million euros, according to data collected by Refinitiv.

Barclays also beat second-quarter profit expectations and boosted returns to shareholders, with its investment banking and equities businesses posting record incomes. The British bank posted a quarterly attributable profit of £2.1 billion ($2.9 billion), up from £90 million for the second quarter of 2020.

Barclays shares climbed 2%, while Deutsche Bank was down 1.1%.

British wealth management giant St. James's Place jumped 5.6% after a strong earnings report.

Toward the bottom of the European blue chip index, Dutch storage company Vopak fell 5.9% after missing second-quarter profit expectations.

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