Stocks on the Continent are pushing higher, after the European Central Bank's president struck a 'dovish' note on the outlook for monetary policy.
Speaking at The ECB and Its Watchers conference on Wednesday morning, ECB chief Mario Draghi said rate-setters needed to be patient, persistent and prudent, adding that risks and uncertainties to the outlook remained.
As of 1308 GMT, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was higher by 0.38% or 1.43 points at 376.92, alongside a 0.37% or 19.34 point advance on the Cac-40 to 5,262.42, while Germany's Dax was higher by 0.56% or 68.32 points to 12,289.26.
In parallel, euro/dollar was dipping 0.30% to 1.2358, weighed down in part by figures showing that US final demand prices advanced by 2.8% year-on-year in February, with Barclays Research saying the data pointed to “stable price pressures in the pipeline”.
Boosting investor sentiment, earlier China's National Bureau of Statistics reported a 7.2% year-on-year increase in the country's idnustrial output over the first two months of 2018 (consensus: 6.2%).
That appeared to offset the drag from Tuesday's news that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had gotten sacked.
On that note, one City-based analyst was pointing out to clients a report in the NY Times according to which more personnel changes were expected in the White House over the coming week.
Speaking of the US administration, on Wednesday morning European Council president Donald Tusk urged the US president to “make trade not war”.
“We are not happy either […] That is the reason why a few years ago we started trade negotiations with the U.S. We should go back to these talks now.”
Meanwhile, in regional economic news, Eurostat Industrial production data in the euro area for January printed well below forecasts, coming in at down by 1.0% month-on-month (consensus: -0.4%), amid a 6.6% drop in output of energy and a 1.4% fall in that of durable consumer goods.
Spanish retail sales grew at a 2.5% year-on-year clip in January, INE said, just as expected.
Company-wise, Adidas was in the spotlight after the announcement that it would buy back as many as €3.0bn-worth of shares by 2021 sent shares sharply higher.