LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks rose on Wednesday, driven by earnings from companies including Dutch phone giant Royal KPN (KKPNY) and global luxury leader LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMUY) , as well as continued M&A deal momentum.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.52% at 6,529.29. On the mainland, the DAX added 0.35% to 11,213.55 in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 gained 0.43% to 4,998.97 in Paris.
Jordan's Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HKMPY) was among London's top gainers, rising 3.75% in morning trading. It extended Tuesday's gains after an agreement to buy Boehringer Ingelheim's Columbus, Ohio-based Roxane Laboratories for about $2.65 billion.
The agreement, announced late Tuesday, will create the global leader in aggregates, the No. 2 in cement and No. 3 in ready-mix concrete. Heidelberg Cement was down 7.6% in Frankfurt.
In Brussels, chemicals maker Solvay (SVYSF) was down 4.14% after an initial spike on its first big-ticket acquisition in years. The Belgian company agreed to buy Woodland Park, N.J.-based Cytec Industries (CYT) for an enterprise value of $6.4 billion.
The deal, due to close in the fourth quarter, will make Solvay the world's second-largest player in the fast-growing aerospace composite materials market, where Cytec provides long-life, lightweight and corrosion-resistant thermoplastics for Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report and Airbus (EADSY) - Get Report planes.
The purchase will also boost Solvay's profile in advanced materials, with a major push into composites for the automotive sector.
Analyst Bernard Hanssens of Bank Degroof in Brussels noted that while the deal does not come cheap, the valuations are "still reasonable" given its transformational nature. He reiterated his "accumulate" rating on Solvay shares and raised his target price to €145 from a previous target of €135.
Several stocks got a boost from better-than-expected corporate earnings reports.
In Paris, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMUY) climbed 2.65% after the world's biggest maker of luxury products posted better-than-expected first-half results.
First-half profit from recurring operations rose 15% to €2.96 billion, led by double-digit organic revenue growth in the second quarter for fashion and leather goods, solid growth in the U.S. and a good performance from wine and spirits in all regions except for China.
As for the rest of the year, LVMH predicts that it will keep gaining market share despite economic uncertainties, thanks to numerous planned product launches in the months ahead, as well as geographic expansion in "promising" markets.
Royal KPN (KKPNY) was 4.14% higher in Amsterdam after the Dutch telecommunications company reported quarterly earnings above estimates. Adjusted earnings rose 1.5% in the second quarter to €602 million, driven by growth in the customer base and cost savings, though partly offset by declining revenues in the business segment.
Bayer (BAYRY) - Get Report, Total (TOT) - Get Report and Man Group (MNGPY) also all rose on positive earnings news. It was a mixed picture for car stocks, with Volkswagen (VLKAY) retreating 1.93% in Frankfurt after lowering its full-year sales forecast and PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUGF) adding more than 5% in Paris on strong second-half earnings.
In Paris, Schneider Electric (SBGSF) fell 1.47% after the company predicted flat organic revenue growth in the second half and a "stable to moderate decline" in its adjusted 2015 Ebita margin compared to 2014.
In a statement, chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said the focus in the second half will be on recovering the industry business, delivering cost efficiency and improving profit margin.
He said that while he expects continued growth in the U.S. construction market and sustained improvement in western Europe, "persistent" weakness in China and in oil and gas related investments will hurt revenues and earnings.
Asian stocks were mostly higher, led by a very welcome 3.44% recovery in the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index.
The Hang Seng rose 0.47% to 24,619.45 in Hong Kong, while the Nikkei stubbornly bucked the positive trend with a 0.13% decline to 20,302.91.
Later today all eyes will be on the U.S., where the Federal Reserve is due to release its policy statement after European markets close for the day.