LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks rebounded on Wednesday, as euro-area growth gathered pace in the first quarter and as investors toasted strong earnings from companies including brewer SABMiller (SBMRY) and packaging and paper producer Mondi (MONDY).
France's CAC 40 took center stage among the region's benchmark indices, climbing 1.10% to 5,029.16. The FTSE 100 gained 0.48% to 6,967.04 in London, and the DAX advanced 0.59% to 6,967.04 in Frankfurt.
The pre-holiday buying spree comes a day before most continental markets take a break for Thursday's Ascension Day holiday.
Preliminary figures released by Eurostat showed that adjusted GDP rose 0.4% in both the eurozone and the 28-nation European Union, compared to 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively, in the fourth quarter, with French and Italian growth gathering pace as Germany's recovery lost some steam and Greece slipped back into recession.
In London, Mondi climbed 10.86% as investors welcomed a 29% rise in first-quarter underlying profit. Earnings rose to €236 million from €183 million.
The company attributed the increase to volume growth and lower input costs across Europe, good contributions from capital projects and acquisitions, notably in the U.S., and higher selling prices in Russia and South Africa.
SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer after Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD), was also up on better-than-expected earnings. The stock climbed 2.44% after posting adjusted EBITDA of $6.37 billion in the year that ended March 31, above the $6.23 billion consensus forecast. However, the company said it expects a "challenging" trading environment in the year ahead amid currency volatility and increasing raw material prices.
While seeking to increase premium beer sales in the U.S. and Australia as well as developing markets across Africa and in Columbia, SABMiller is developing new beer styles and flavors, and expanding its drink offerings to ciders and beer-soft drink mixes known as radlers.
In Paris, Numericable (NUMCF) jumped 9.9% following a "buy" rating from Natixis.
In Frankfurt, Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) was little changed as investors paid little attention to its 11% rise in first-quarter profit. Europe's largest phone company also reiterated its full-year adjusted EBITDA target of €18.3 billion, though said this figure would amount to €19.3 billion based on the average dollar/euro exchange rate seen in the first quarter.
Among decliners, insurer Aegon (AEG) shed 1.88% in Amsterdam after the owner of Transamerica posted disappointing first-quarter earnings, blaming adverse claims experiences in the U.S. market.
And in Frankfurt, RWE (RWEOY) was down 0.18%. Germany's largest power producer confirmed its earnings forecast for 2015 and stuck to its 2015 EBITDA forecast of around €6.1 billion to €6.4 billion. It warned that Germany's new climate-change targets unveiled in March may have a "substantial negative impact" on the company's lignite mines and lignite-fired power stations.
That news overshadowed a better-than-expected first quarter. Recurrent net income rose by 10% to €877 million, exceeding the €770.4 million average forecast from a Bloomberg News consensus forecast.
Asian stocks were mixed. The Hang Seng fell 0.58% to 27,249.28 in Hong Kong, while the Nikkei added 0.71% to 19,764.62.