European stock markets finished higher. London's FTSE 100 index was up 18.2 points, or 0.41%, to 4,486.7, with help from tobacco stocks. British American Tobacco (BTI ) was higher after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the merger between RJ Reynolds (RJR ) and BAT's Brown & Williamson unit.
Germany's DAX index rose 19.82 points, or 0.54%, to 3,945.1 even though German industrial production rose 1.4% in April, down from 2.2% in March. In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 19.82 points, or 0.54%, to 3,720.14.
Asian markets finished mixed Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei index lost 0.71 points, or 0.01%, to close at 11,580.56. Banks led losers as Japan's 10-year bonds saw their sharpest fall in nearly a week. Analysts said trading was cautious as investors await the key Bank of Japan's Tankan business confidence survey, due out July 1, and the interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee next week, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 4.18 points, or 0.04%, to close at 11,849.77 powered by gains in China plays. China-related stocks rose after Premier Wen Jiabao said the government is confident of achieving a soft landing, easing concerns about an interest rate hike, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.