LONDON ( The Deal) -- European indices were back in positive territory Wednesday with robust earnings from companies including U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer (MAKSY) and Dutch lender ING Groep (ING) driving the momentum.
In London, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.90% to 6,512.03, and in Frankfurt the DAX advanced 1.20% to 9.276.88. In Paris, the benchmark CAC 40 was up 1.11% at 4,176.02.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how European markets are doing in midday trading Wednesday:
A 1.3% fall in eurozone September retail sales, reported by EU statistics arm Eurostat a day before the European Central Bank's next meeting, clearly failed to dampen the mood as corporate news stole the spotlight.
In London, Marks & Spencer soared 8.2% after posting a 2.3% rise in first-half profit to a 268 million pounds, which was above expectations. The earnings increase was tempered by an unseasonably warm September, which had a 2.5% impact on clothing and general merchandise sales.
The retailer nevertheless said it expects its general merchandise unit to be more profitable this year, raising its projections for gross margins to widen by 1.5 to 2 percentage points from an earlier forecast of 1 percentage point. It also predicted its food business to keep outperforming the market, with 200 Simply Food store openings planned over the next three years, 50 more than originally planned.
In Amsterdam, ING climbed nearly 1.9% after the biggest Dutch lender said third-quarter net profit increased more than sixfold to 928 million euros. It also said it will make the final repayment of 1.025 billion euros in state aid on Nov. 7, closing the chapter on a 2008 bailout and five years of restructuring and asset sales.
"Today, we are pleased to announce that we have received regulatory approval to bring forward our final payment of state aid, which will be paid in the coming days," said ING CEO Ralph Hamers in a statement. "We are grateful to the Dutch State, our customers and our shareholders for their support throughout the financial crisis and for the confidence they have placed in ING."
Across the continent, a number of financial stocks were up.
In Frankfurt, German reinsurer Hannover Re got a boost after confirming its profit target for this year, as third-quarter net income rose a greater than expected 21.4% to 251 million euros. The company also predicts a "slightly higher" growth premium next year.
In Milan, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena advanced 4.15% amid reports that it is close to securing underwriters for a planned 2.5 billion euros equity issue, with a board vote on the capital increase happening Wednesday.
And in Paris, shares in French investment bank and asset manager Natixis were also higher after posting a 10% jump in net income to 281 million euros, higher than estimates.
Cement maker Lafarge (LFRGY) rose 1.27% in Paris after confirming its estimate of 2% to 5% market growth this year, with emerging markets driving demand.
Asian indices had a mixed day. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.44% to 16,937, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng retreated 0.63% to 23,695.62.