European shares closed mixed, off session lows on Wednesday, as investors reacted to earnings and hopes that the Greek debt dispute would be resolved.
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index (^STOXX) crept higher in the afternoon to end around 0.4 percent higher.
However, major bourses closed in different directions. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 (FTSE International: .FTSE) ended unofficially down 0.3 percent, while the Italian FTSE MIB (FTSE International: .FTMIB) was down 0.4 percent. The German DAX (^GDAXI) and the French CAC 40 (Euronext Paris: .FCHI) both closed slightly higher, with the latter boosted by luxury goods firm LVMH (Euronext Paris: MC-FR), which was the top performer on the Stoxx 600.
LVMH shares closed around 7.8 percent higher, after reporting growth in its fourth-quarter sales numbers. The news boosted rival Christian Dior (Euronext Paris: CDI-FR), which ended around 5.5 percent higher.
Read More LVMH shares jump as results show brand revival In addition, shares of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) jumped up to 3.5 percent on Wednesday, as the British pharmaceutical giant forecast a return to growth in its key respiratory business. Its shares ended the day around 1.7 percent up.
Read More GSK sales falls; firm upbeat on respiratory unit Greek banks soared on Wednesday on hopes that a new deal on the country’s debt could soon be struck. The country’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has proposed a debt swap that will replace outstanding debt with new growth-linked bonds . Varoufakis and Greek premier, Alexis Tsipras, are currently trying to persuade other European leaders to show leniency towards Greece. The top three performers on the Greek benchmark index were banks, with Bank of Piraeus heading up the list, closing up by a staggering 21 percent. Outside of Europe, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) cut the minimum amount it requires banks to hold as reserves, in an effort to boost growth in the country. The move, effective Thursday, is the first such cut since May 2012. This briefly helped boost mining stocks in Europe, which have heavy exposure to the world’s second-biggest economy. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld
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