European stocks edged higher on Wednesday after a mixed day in Asia ahead of Thursday's crunch meeting of eurozone monetary policy makers.
By mid-morning in London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.37% at 6,147.94, while in Frankfurt the DAX gained 0.69% to 9,759.88. In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.81% to 4439.86.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.33% at $1,987.50.
U.K. January industrial and manufacturing output data came in better than expected, with month-on-month increases in both categories, and a below-forecast 0.1% annual decline in the manufacturing sector.
The European Central Bank meets on Thursday with expectations pointing to more monetary boosters to spur growth including a 0.1 percentage point cut in the benchmark rate to minus 0.4%.
Outsourced services provider G4S (GFSZY) was down more than 12% in London after write-downs on problematic contracts, restructuring costs and losses on disposals hit its bottom line, leading it to keep its final dividend unchanged. G4S said it had added four businesses to the 38 units it wants to sell or wind down. The newcomers include its youth services business in the U.S.
Casual dining company Restaurant Group (RSTGF) slumped 17% as of mid-morning in London as it reiterated a warning of challenging conditions in the current year, reinforced by news of a 1.5% decline in same-store sales in the first 10 weeks of the year. In 2015 sales by that same measure had risen 1.5%.
Human resources specialist Penna Consulting rose 15 pence, or 4.2%, to 362.5 pence after a unit of Swiss recruitment services company Adecco agreed to offer 365 pence, or £105.3 million ($149.7 million), for the company. In Zurich, Adecco slipped more than 1% after the company fell marginally short of consensus Ebitda forecasts in the fourth quarter.
French bank Credit Agricole (CRARY) was up more than 2% in Paris after it laid out a master-plan aimed at lifting its annual profit to €4.2 billion ($4.6 billion) by 2019.
On mainland China all indices declined, with the CSI 300 composite index down 1.15% at 3,071.91, after below-forecast February trade data featuring double-digit declines in both exports and imports.
But in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.96% to 5,157.19.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.84% at 16,642.20 and the Topix dropped 1.14% to 1,332.33. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng edged down 0.08% to 19,996.26.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASX) - Get ASE Technology Holding Co., Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report fell 2.1% in Tapei after the chip maker announced a delay in obtaining regulatory approval in Taiwan for its unsolicited $3.9 billion takeover offer for domestic rival Silicon Precision Industries Ltd. (SPIL)