European stocks edged higher on Wednesday as investors took a "glass half full" view of inconclusive polls about tomorrow's U.K. referendum on EU membership.
Polls by YouGov and Survation put the "remain" camp ahead by one percentage point, while ORB recorded an eight percentage point lead. However, the Daily Telegraph's poll of polls had the two sides neck-and-neck, and the Financial Times poll of polls put the "leave" camp ahead, with 45% of the vote compared with 44%.
The pound pared early gains against the dollar, and was recently up 0.04% at $1.4658.
On Tuesday Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen signaled a cautious outlook on U.S. rates in a testimony to Congress. She cited "considerable uncertainty" about U.S. economic prospects. Yellen continues her testimony today.
The yield on the 10-year U.K. government bond was recently up 1 basis points at 1.29%.
The FTSE 100 was recently up 0.08% at 6,231.60. In Frankfurt the Dax gained 0.32% to 10,047.10 and in Paris the Cac 40 climbed 0.16% to 4,374.30
Brent crude was recently up 0.57% at $50.91 per barrel.
S&P 500 mini futures were recently down 0.02%.
In Stockholm H&M (HNNMY) reversed initial gains after announcing second-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts' revised expectations after the clothing retailer warned last week that revenue had come in short. The stock was down about 0.7%.
U.K. department-store retailer Debenhams (DBHSF) was recently down about 5% after announcing a 0.2% same-store sales decline in the quarter ended June 11, and an even worse 1.6% decline when striping out currency fluctuations.
Model trains maker Hornby fell sharply but recovered to trade 1.3% higher. It announced a 4% decline in full-year revenue, a swing to a full-year loss and a restructuring program featuring debt concessions from lenders.
In Frankfurt today the European Central Bank will run the first of four quarterly auctions to provide banks with cheap debt under a program known as long-term refinancing operations II.
SoftBank (SFTBY) closed up 2.6% in Tokyo after the surprise departure of president, chief operating officer and CEO-in-waiting Nikesh Arora. His exit came about after founder and CEO Masayoshi Son decided he wanted to stay on as boss.
Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) closed up 2.5%. The company forecast it will swing to a financial year net loss in the year ending next March for the first time in eight years because of the fall-out from its fuel-efficiency testing scandal. It expects a net loss of yen 145 billion ($1.4 billion), more than double the loss previously forecast by analysts. In the year ended in March it made a net profit of yen 89.1 billion.
The Nikkei 225 closed down 0.64% in Tokyo at 16,065.72. The Topix lost 0.72% to close at 1,284.61
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.61% at 20,795.12.
On mainland China the CSI composite closed up 0.89% at 3,133.96.