European stocks rose Wednesday despite news that Britain was back in recession, as dealers awaited the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate decision and digested spectacular Apple earnings.
Nearing midday in London, the capital's benchmark FTSE 100 index won 0.22 percent to 5,722.10 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 1.20 percent to 6,669.12 points and the Paris CAC 40 rallied 1.73 percent to 3,224.19 points.
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency advanced to $1.3214 from $1.3192 late in New York on Tuesday. Sterling fell against both the euro and dollar.
Britain sank back into recession as its economy contracted 0.2 percent in the first quarter, official data showed Wednesday amid painful state cutbacks and fallout from the debt crisis in key trading partner the eurozone.
A recession is defined as two successive quarters of contraction. Britain's economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Despite the recession news, European equities mirrored gains elsewhere as dealers awaited key policy meetings in the United States and Japan this week, while technology stocks were lifted by strong Apple results.
The US Federal Reserve completes its monthly rate-setting meeting Wednesday, while a news briefing afterwards by chairman Ben Bernanke may offer hints to the economy's direction.
Shares were also recovering after big losses at the start of the week that were caused by political uncertainty in France and the Netherlands and weak manufacturing figures from China and the eurozone.
"Bank and miners remain steady, adding an air of stability. Recent US corporate earning, to which Apple added the cream last night, seem to be calming market nerves for now at least.
"Expect the market to remain quietly steady in the run-up (to) when the Fed statement will be dissected for clues to further potential quantitative easing," he added.
The first-quarter GDP data confounded most analysts' expectations that gross domestic product grew by 0.1 percent between January to March, compared with the final quarter of last year.
"The pound has fallen against the dollar and the euro on the news that the UK is now in a technical recession," said Currencies Direct analyst Phil McHugh.
"The markets have been wrong footed by the move with expectations of a good number priced into the pound."
Elsewhere, Asian stock markets closed mixed on Wednesday, as Tokyo climbed 0.98 percent and Hong Kong slipped 0.15 percent.
Dealers expect another batch of easing measures from the Bank of Japan when it meets for its rate-setting meeting on Friday.
Meanwhile, US giant Apple announced overnight that profit in the first three months of the year almost doubled year on year thanks to blockbuster sales of the iPad and iPhone.
Apple reported on Tuesday that it made a profit of $11.6 billion on revenue of $39.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31. The amount of cash Apple had on hand grew $12 billion to $110.2 billion.
Sales of iPads more than doubled from the same quarter the previous year and iPhone sales surged 88 percent.
Source: AFP Global Edition