Europe's major benchmarks were lifted Wednesday by a gush of positive corporate earnings news while mounting expectations of large scale tax reform in the U.S. also helped to maintain a steady bid for stocks.

The FTSE 100 rose by 0.18% in London to close at 7,288 while the mid-market FTSE 250 index gained 0.50% to close at 19,678.

In Frankfurt the DAX was up by 0.01% at 12,472 while the CAC 40 gained 0.19% in Paris to close at 5,287.

However, stocks slipped in Southern Europe, with the banking sector leading the decline as investors fled the sector in response to Credit Suisse (CS) - Get Report having declared its intention to raise $4 billion of new capital. Both the FTSE MIB in Milan and the IBEX in Madrid fell for the session.

In individual stocks Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) - Get Report rose by more than 8% in Milan Wednesday after it beat expectations for first-quarter sales and earnings, marking a new record for the multinational automaker.

Fiat reported sales of €27.7 billion ($30.19 billion) for the three months to March 31, which were up 4% on the same period one year ago, and ahead of the FactSet (FDS) - Get Report consensus for €27.3 billion.

Adjusted EBIT came in at €1.53 billion, an increase of 11% on the prior year, which was ahead of the analyst consensus for €1.49 billion. Adjusted diluted earnings per share were €0.43, modestly ahead of expectations for €0.42.

In London, Standard Chartered (SCBFF) stock surged Tuesday to top the FTSE 100 after it beat expectations for first-quarter earnings, suggesting that the turnaround of the bank is now gaining momentum.

Profit before tax was up by 94% when compared with the same period one year ago and significantly ahead of the Factset consensus for $625 million. Shares of the emerging market focused lender closed up more than 4%.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HKMPY) was among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 after rising by around 2%. Price action came on the back of Glaxo (GSK) - Get Report having warned of the impact that generic competition to its Advair asthma treatment is having on one of its core franchises.

Hikma is a leading generic drugmaker and currently has an Advair generic pending approval with the Food & Drug Administration, which could make its way to market as soon as May.

Glaxo stock was among the big fallers as investors overlooked a positive set of first quarter results to focus on the threat to Advair from generic competition.

In Frankfurt, Daimler (DDAIF) was among the biggest risers on the DAX index after the company lifted full year guidance for sales and earnings on the back of stronger demand for its new Mercedes-Benz car models.

All European automakers have seen their shares rise strongly during recent days in response to speculation that the Trump administration is cooling on the controversial idea of a border adjustment tax.

Accordingly, BMW (BMWYY) , Peugeot (PEUGF) and Renault (RNSDF) were all higher in Europe Wednesday, with total returns over the last week now in excess of 5% for each.