EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Close At 2-year High As Miners, Car Makers Bring Cheer

By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Germany's DAX closes at record

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European stocks posted their highest close in more than two years Wednesday, boosted by resource stocks after solid Chinese manufacturing data and car makers following strong U.S. sales figures.

What stock indexes were doing:

The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 0.4% to 396.77, for its highest close since August 2015, according to FactSet data.

Germany's DAX 30 index rallied 1.8% to 13,465.51, for another all-time closing high. Trading in Germany was closed Tuesday for the Reformation Day holiday.

France's CAC 40 rose 0.2% to 5,514.29, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% to 7,487.96.

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What's moving markets:

Mining stocks popped higher on the back of data from Caixin showing Chinese factory activity held steady in October, indicating a stable pace of expansion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-caixin-manufacturing-pmi-holds-steady-2017-10-31). Shares of mining companies can be sensitive to economic data from China, as the country is a major buyer of industrial and precious metals. The Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources Index surged 2.7% on Wednesday for its biggest gain since July 3.

Metals prices were also rising, with copper futures up more than 2% at one point.

The auto sector logged gains after encouraging sales data from the U.S (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/car-sales-continue-hot-streak-in-october-2017-11-01). The Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts Index ended 2.2% higher.

Investors will watch for what the U.S. Federal Reserve signals later Wednesday about the path of interest rates when it releases its policy decision.

Read:Fed statement may have treats for the hawks and doves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-statement-may-have-treats-for-both-hawks-and-doves-2017-10-27)

Earnings season continues to roll on. According to Thomson Reuters data released Wednesday, 47.5% of results released so far by companies on the Stoxx Europe 600 have exceeded analyst estimates. In a typical quarter, 50% of results surpass analyst per-share estimates, it said.

What strategists are saying:

"In Europe markets are moving ahead at full speed, soaring to new highs as the receding Catalonian crisis brings out some more buyers. In London, the FTSE is once again struggling to move higher, giving up almost all its gains for the day despite a spectacular contribution by the mining sector," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note.

Stock movers: Shares of Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) (VOW.XE) rose 4.8% after the car maker said sales rose 11.9% in the U.S. in October.

Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) dropped 6.1% as the Asian-focused lender in its third-quarter results said asset margins are "remaining under pressure." The bank's pretax profit more than doubled to $774 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/standard-chartered-pretax-profit-doubles-2017-11-01).

Shares of Next PLC (NXT.LN) sank 9.1%, for its biggest loss since January. The slide was set off after the clothing and houseware retailer narrowed its pretax profit and sales guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/next-sales-rise-narrows-guidance-on-profit-2017-11-01) for the year. Third-quarter sales were up 1.3% on the year, buoyed by rising directory sales as retail sales fell 7.7%.

Paddy Power Betfair PLC reported underlying earnings grew 7.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/paddy-power-betfair-earnings-rise-lifts-guidance-2017-11-01) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, as it slightly raised its full-year guidance. Shares rose 4.5%.

Indivior PLC (INDV.LN) shares rallied 7.8%. The pharmaceutical company said Wednesday a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee has voted to recommend approval of its drug RBP-6000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/indivior-opioid-addiction-drug-gets-fda-nod-2017-11-01) for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 01, 2017 13:17 ET (17:17 GMT)