LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks stabilized on Wednesday, with health care stocks among the gainers as Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report prepared to announce the termination of its $160 billion deal for Allergan (AGN) - Get Report .
Numerous reports stated that an announcement will come later Wednesday in response to a Treasury Department clampdown late on Monday on so-called inversions, through which U.S. companies have been buying overseas peers to cut their tax bills.
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Meanwhile, after disappointing factory data Tuesday, government figures on German industrial output offered some reassurance. Output fell 0.5% in February from January, well below the 1.8% decline predicted. But the Federal Statistical Office also revised down the January month-on-month increase to 2.3% from 3.3%.
By late morning in London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.52% at 6,123.14, but in Frankfurt the DAX was little changed at 9,563.34. In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.55% to 4,273.62
S&P 500 futures were up 0.37%.
In London, mining group Glencore (GLNCY) fell after agreeing to sell a 40% stake in its agricultural products unit to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $2.5 billion. But the seller pared losses in the course of the morning.
In Paris, Air-France KLM (AFLYY) sunk almost 6% after news that CEO Alexandre de Juniac had quit amid a labor dispute. Oddo & Cie. downgraded the stock to neutral from buy.
Clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz was up close to 4% in Stockholm after first-quarter profit came in slightly higher than consensus expectations and the company predicted that dollar-related increases to sourcing costs would fall away by the fiscal fourth quarter, with the currency impact "neutral or slightly positive" by then.
Music systems maker Bang & Olufsen was down more than 2% in Copenhagen as it downgraded its full-year Ebit forecast to "slightly below break-even" from a previous forecast of "around" break-even. The company, which is in talks about a takeover by China's Sparkle Roll Group, also said it would sell its ICEpower A/S audio engineering unit to management backed by Industri Udvikling for 32 million Danish kroner ($4.9 million).
In Zurich, chocolate maker Barry Callebaut was up well over 8% after it confirmed its mid-term targets despite challenges in the cocoa products market. First-half net profit was down 18.5% to Sfr107.9 million ($112.4 million), partly because of movements in the Swiss franc.
Asian stock indices posted temperate gains or losses as Chinese data assuaged concerns about the world's No. 2 economy.
The Caixin China services purchasing managers' index rose to 52.2 in March from 51.2.
On mainland China, the CSE 300 composite index closed down 0.21% at 3,257.53.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.15% at 20,206.67.
In Tokyo, markets stabilized after steep yen-related losses on Tuesday as the Japanese currency fell back. The Nikkei 225 closed down 0.11% to 15,715.36 and the Topix shed 0.05% of its value to close at 1,267.75.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney rose by 0.44% to close at 4,945.91. Westpac Banking closed 1.5%, a day after the Australian securities regulator warned it was taking legal action against the bank about alleged interest-rate fixing.