European benchmarks rose during early trading Wednesday as investors began positioning for economic news set to hit the market later in the session. 

Wednesday's agenda in the economic data department includes average incomes data due from the U.K., the second estimate of second quarter GDP for the Eurozone and the all-important Federal Reserve meeting minutes due out toward the back end of the European day.

The pound was down 0.15% against the dollar to $1.2848 ahead of the data, and hit its lowest point against the euro since 2010, hitting £0.9141.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.60% to 7,427 in London while the CAC 40 added 0.78% to 5,180 on the other side of the English channel in Paris. In Frankfurt, the DAX index was also up by 0.78% to 12,272 while, in Southern Europe, the IBEX and the FTSE MIB were up 0.70% and 1.1% respectively. 

In individual stocks, many of the biggest gainers were drawn from across the mining sector, which has rebounded strongly in recent days following losses brought about by last week's tensions over North Korea's missile tests.

BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report  rose more than 2% during the first hour of trading, in part due to activist investor Elliott Management having upped its stake in the mining and petroleum giant. But Rio Tinto (RIO) - Get Report , Anglo American (NGLOY) and Glencore (GLNCF) were all also up 2% or more. Metal futures prices were also buoyant in London. 

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The sector saw a boost Monday after Chinese industrial data showed the steel industry remaining in rude health during the recent month, even in the face of a broad-based downturn in production across other segments of the Chinese industrial world. 

Also on Monday, data from the People's Bank of China showed the banking sector's collective NPL ratio remaining steady at 1.74% in the second quarter while net profits grew at a double digit rate of 12% when compared with the same period one year ago, further easing concerns over the stability of the nation's financial system.

Other risers in London included financial services group Prudential, which sold its U.S. broker dealer network to LPL Financial LLC for $325 million and some change further down the line.

In Paris, mining and steel giant ArcelorMittal (MT) - Get Report  was the biggest gainer on the CAC 40 after rising 2.15% during early trading while, in Frankfurt, Lufthansa (DLAKY) topped the DAX index for the second day running. 

On Tuesday the German government said Lufthansa and one other airline are in talks to acquire the assets of Air Berlin  (AIBEF)  out of bankruptcy. The smaller rival fell into administration after backer Etihad Airways pulled financing from the loss making outfit.

Reuters cited a source when it wrote that both would-be buyers were propelled into action by a desire to prevent the airline's flight routes and other assets falling into the hands of Europe's largest airline, Ryanair (RYAAY) - Get Report . Lufthansa shares gained 2% during the first hour of trading.

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