Earnings Nudge European Shares Higher

European shares edged higher on Wednesday led by mining and construction stocks on a heavy day for company results.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 percent, but national indexes were mixed, with Italy, Spain and Britain in negative territory while France's blue-chip index outperformed.

Norwegian insurer Storebrand was the best performing stock in the index, up 5.1 percent after touching a nine-year high, after reporting forecast-beating earnings and the first dividend in six years.

French construction and concession company Vinci was also a top gainer after results reported after the market closed on Tuesday. Its shares were up 3.8 percent after it hiked its dividend and forecast higher revenue for 2017 and more traffic on its French motorways.

"With most operating metrics in Q4 improving and guidance for further growth, we see momentum as positive for Vinci into 2017," said UBS analysts in a note.

"We believe the shares offer good value."

Denmark's wind turbine producer Vestas Wind was another top gainer leading Copenhagen's OMX 20 index after it reported a bigger than expected order intake.

German airline Lufthansa rose to the top of the German blue-chip index after Societe Generale upgraded the stock to "buy." Lufthansa's Eurowings unit agreed to a mediation process with German cabin crew on Tuesday.

Spanish construction company ACS rose 3.5 percent after Australian contractor Cimic Group Ltd, said it expected a strong 2017 and posted an 11.5 percent rise in full-year profit.

ACS supported the pan-European construction and materials sector index, which gained 1.2 percent.

The pan-European mining index rose 2 percent, and Antofagasta and Rio Tinto were among the top gainers, as copper prices climbed towards a two-month high due to supply concerns.

Among the fallers, Nordic stocks dominated.

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moeller-Maersk was a top faller, its shares down 6.2 percent after it missed fourth-quarter profit forecasts and announced its chairman would step down.

Sweden's Handelsbanken dropped 4.3 percent, headed for its worst daily loss in more than six months, after its profit and dividend missed forecasts.

Danish beer giant Carlsberg lost 2.8 percent after its fourth-quarter sales missed analysts' forecasts.

British mid-cap Tullow Oil was the top European faller after the Africa-focused oil exploration company said it was in the red for a third year due to exploration write-offs.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Vikram Subhedar and Elaine Hardcastle)