European stocks closed higher Wednesday, helped by upbeat earnings from companies like PSA Peugeot Citroën, with investors also waiting to hear what the U.S. Federal Reserve may signal about interest rates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.46% closed up 1% to 394.01. The index on Tuesday rose 1.1%, partially recovering from a China-led global selloff in the prior session.
Fed ahead: Overall gains for European shares Wednesday came ahead of what will be a closely watched monetary policy statement from the Fed, led by Chairwoman Janet Yellen. The statement is due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, or 7 p.m. London time. Investors hope for clues on the timing of the next interest-rate hike.
“When the Yellen Fed moves, it will be 25 basis points and the key issue is the timing. What may stop the Fed going in September is any breakdown in the Greek debt/bailout negotiations or the state of the Chinese economy and equity market,” said Stephen Pope, managing partner at Spotlight Ideas, in a note, adding that what action the Fed takes “has global reverberations.”
Benchmarks: In Paris, the CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.71% finished up 0.8% to 5,017.44, with PSA Peugeot Citroën /zigman2/quotes/203546414/delayed FR:UG -4.21% gaining 6% after the car maker swung to its first profit since 2011. Profit was 571 million euros ($632.4 million) for the first half of 2015. It lost €114 million a year earlier.
Germany’s DAX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.46% had a smaller advance, closing up 0.3% at 11,211.85. There, HeidelbergCement AG /zigman2/quotes/202418791/delayed DE:HEI +0.19% fell 6.4% after the cement producer said it plans to take a 45% stake in Italy’s Italcementi SpA for €1.67 billion.
In London, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.20% rose 1.2% to 6,631, as Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC +1.00% and British American Tobacco PLC /zigman2/quotes/209116881/delayed UK:BATS +0.04% shares moved higher.
Movers: Among other European movers, Numericable-SFR SA shares rose 3% as the French cable and mobile operator swung to a second-quarter profit of €79 million.
Italy’s Saipem SpA /zigman2/quotes/203593562/delayed IT:SPM +0.72% shares finished down 3.4% after the oil contractor slashed its yearly forecast and said it plans to cut 8,800 jobs by 2017. Eni SpA /zigman2/quotes/209584888/delayed IT:ENI -0.46% , which owns 43% of Saipem, saw its shares edge up 0.5%.