European stock markets closed higher on Wednesday, led by Spain's Ibex 35, and followed by German, French and U.K. indices.

In London the FTSE 100 closed 0.3% higher at 6,846.58 while the FTSE 250 was also up by 0.3% at 18,060.24.

Construction and industrial equipment rental specialist Ashtead Group (ASHTF) was the top riser on the FTSE 100 on Wednesday after reporting a strong set of first quarter results.

Management noted a 12% increase in revenues to £660 million and a 9% increase in Ebitda to £340 million for the period, prompting the shares to close more than 3% higher.

On the FTSE 250, pharma business Vectura (VEGPF) rose after management raised its full year revenue outlook and reported that the integration of the group's Skyepharma (SKYEY) acquisition is on track. The stock closed more than 10% up on Wednesday.

Some of the U.K.'s challenger banks also rose strongly after research from data analysis outfit Avention suggested that fledgling lenders have now captured more than 30% of the market for new loans to private individuals in Scotland.

The report pointed toward Metro Bank (MBNKF) and OneSavings Bank (OSVBF) as being among those who have been particularly successful. The stocks rose by more than 3% each.

Retail financial trading firm CMC Markets saw its own stock fall 11.99% on Wednesday after a trading update delivered ahead of its shareholder meeting told investors that revenues were likely to be lower than last year.

The newly listed firm grew the number of active clients by 9% in the first half of the year while client money balances also increased by 21%. But revenue expectations are lower due to a fall in the value of client trades, which management attribute to recent volatility.

In Germany the Dax rose by more than 0.6%, to 10,752.5, while the CAC 40 in France was up by 0.6% at 4,557.6.

ThyssenKrupp (TYEKF) was the top riser on the Dax and ArcelorMittal (MT - Get Report) the biggest gainer on the Cac 40. Each rose by 1.9% and 2.9% respectively, on hopes that European Union officials will soon set out the measures that the commission intends to take in order to combat Chinese steel dumping.

In Spain the IBEX 35 index rose by more than 1.2%, to 9,015.2, led by retailer Inditex (IDEXY) . Inditex stock rose by more than 2.5% after both JPMorgan and Societe Generale upgraded it to buy.