LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were mixed on Wednesday, as falling oil prices dragged energy stocks lower and as investors awaited a second day of Congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.25% at 6,932.36 while in Paris, the CAC 40 was 0.14% lower at 4,879.52 and in Frankfurt, the DAX was little changed at 11,207.82.
Energy stocks including Tullow Oil (TUWLF) and BG were among the biggest decliners in London as oil traded under $50 a barrel. Tullow Oil was down 1.45%, while BG erased 1.10%.
Later today all eyes will be on Washington, where Yellen is due to testify at the U.S. House of Representatives, a day after telling the Senate Banking Committee that central bankers were prepared to consider interest rate rises "on a meeting-by-meeting basis." U.S. new-home sales for January are also due out Wednesday.
In Europe, markets were relatively calm a day after Greece won a four-month extension of its financial rescue from its eurozone peers, with corporate news pulling individual stocks in both directions.
In Copenhagen, A.P. Moeller-Maersk (AMKBF) rallied 6.08% as investors welcomed its plans to sell its 20% stake in Danske Bank (DNSKY) , worth about $5.5 billion as of Wednesday's close, to focus on shipping and oil.
The family foundation behind Moeller-Maersk has committed to buy an initial 15%, with plans to increase its ownership to 20% later. But investors will have to wait until March 30 to find out the size of Moeller-Maersk's extraordinary dividend, to be announced at the annual meeting.
In London, St. James' Place (STJPF) climbed 4.88% after the wealth management company posted a higher-than-expected 50% payout increase on the back of strong 2014 results. CEO David Bellamy predicted continued growth in 2014, in line with medium-term objectives.
In Paris, Axa (AXAHY) rose 3.27% after France's largest insurer posted a 12% rise in full-year profit to a record €5 billion and announced plans to raise its dividend by 17%.
As for the year ahead, Axa said it will continue to diversify its geographical footprint and business mix as well as further improving operational efficiency, which should help it fare well even in today's low interest-rate environment.
The picture was not rosy everywhere.
In Madrid, Telefónica (TEF) - Get Report was down 0.11% after the Spain's largest telecom company posted sharp declines in fourth-quarter net income and operating income after writing down the value of its Venezuelan unit.
Finally in Dublin, Aer Lingus (AIRXY) shares were 0.84% lower in late morning amid uncertainty over whether Ireland will give its blessing to International Consolidated Airlines' sweetened bid for the Irish carrier.
The Irish government, which owns 25.1% of Aer Lingus, said Tuesday that it needs to know more about IAG's plans for the carrier, asking it to clarify suggestions it will expand Aer Lingus' operations at Cork and Shannon airports while adding new U.S. destinations.
Asian stocks also had a mixed day. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.10% to 18,585.20, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng added 0.11% to 24,778.28.