By Polya Lesova And Shri Navaratnam
European stocks closed higher Wednesday but gave back most of their early gains as traders locked in some recent profits, while the major national indexes ended mixed.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei Stock Average and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index both rose 1.8%, although Hong Kong was open for only half the day and many other markets were closed for the Lunar New Year.
Investors in Europe were tentative ahead of Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls data. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.1% at 284.59, pulling back from a 0.6% gain earlier in the session.
"We've rallied very quickly, and a lot over the last two days," said Joshua Raymond , market strategist at City Index in London. "We're edging closer to nonfarm payrolls and people are happy to stay on their hands a little bit."
In LONDON , the FTSE 100 posted solid gains to close up 0.7% at 6000.07. Imperial Tobacco Group climbed 5.9% as underlying tobacco net revenue rose 5% in the three months ended December. Among miners, Lonmin gained 4.1% and Eurasian Natural Resources rose 3.8%.
After posting 52-week highs on Tuesday, markets in France and Germany were tepid.
In PARIS , the CAC 40 fell 0.2% to 4066.53. Schneider Electric slumped 3.3% after U.S. rival Emerson Electric said Tuesday that its operating-profit margin was partially offset by higher material costs.
In FRANKFURT , the DAX 30 index ended virtually flat at 7183.67. Infineon Technologies /zigman2/quotes/204995926/delayed DE:IFX +1.74% gained 1.9%, extending gains from the previous session when the semiconductor maker raised its sales guidance.
Swedish stocks posted particularly sharp losses, with the OMX Stockholm 30 index falling 1.4%. Electrolux /zigman2/quotes/203332100/delayed SE:ELUX.B +1.62% dropped 7.9% after the appliance maker reported a decline in fourth-quarter net sales. The firm also has had to contend with the rising costs of raw materials.
Sandvik fell 3% as the tool maker's results fell short of analyst expectations. Truck maker Scania's results also disappointed and its stock fell 2%.
Biotechnology firm Lonza Group /zigman2/quotes/206849989/delayed CH:LONN -0.68% gained 2.7% in Zurich on an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at UBS, which said the valuation is more compelling.
J.P. Morgan Cazenove upgraded water-utility firm Northumbrian Water Group to "overweight" from "neutral," also on valuation grounds, and the stock rallied 3.9% in London.
In TOKYO , the Nikkei Stock Average climbed 1.8%, the best percentage rise since early December, to 10457.36.
Toyota Motor /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.21% rose 3.3% and Nissan Motor jumped 3.1% after the companies reported solid U.S. auto sales for January.
Casio Computer /zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed JP:6952 +0.30% jumped 6.6% after saying it had swung to a net profit in the April-December period, as margins improved.
NTT Data /zigman2/quotes/207627127/delayed JP:9613 +0.32% climbed 6.7% after reporting strong profit growth on Tuesday.