European equities turned positive after a damp start on Tuesday, as strong gains in utilities, auto and energy stocks outweighed early losses, including in Pandora.
US stocks rose to all-time highs as bank shares led gains amid a climb in Treasury yields. The dollar advanced for a third day during a lacklustre session on Tuesday. Gold reversed gains while crude retreated.
Trading volumes were modest on the Iseq, which dipped slightly by 0.16 per cent, following the bank holiday weekend.
Under pressure exploration minnow, Providence Resources, continued to feel the strain of its negative drilling results. It fell 10.6 per cent, on top of a 38 per cent fall last Friday, precipitated by disappointing results from its Druid prospect off the southwest coast.
Bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair fell another 3.9 per cent, as it missed earnings targets. It admitted it had been knocked by the lack of a major football tournament and punter-friendly sports results. It was down almost 5.5 per cent at one stage in the morning's trading.
Investors are also nervous following news that chief executive Breon Corcoran is leaving.
Property stocks, including Cairn Homes, Ires and Green REIT, were also all down on Tuesday. Ires has interim figures out Wednesday.
Insurance giant Standard Life edged lower after it revealed that investors had pulled £3.7 billion from its funds in the first half. Shares were off 1.2p at 442.1p after its flagship Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund took a big hit, with net outflows of £5.6 billion. Despite this, Standard Life notched up a 6 per cent rise in overall pretax operating profits to £362 million for the six months to June 30th.
UK payments processor Worldpay enjoyed a strong session after being granted the second extension for its merger talks with US suitor Vantiv as the firms haggle over terms of the £9 billion deal. The last-minute extension sees Vantiv given until 5pm on August 11th to make a firm offer or walk away under City takeover rules.
Results hit shares in Danish jewellery maker Pandora, which slumped 14 per cent after second quarter figures lagged estimates. The company has lost a third of its market value this year due to slowing US sales.
Finnish tyre maker Nokian soared 6.4 per cent, however, for its best day in nine months after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profit on improved Russian demand, and raising its forecast. It helped autos stocks jump 0.5 per cent.
German power plant and energy trading group Uniper gained around 3.4 per cent after it lifted its outlook for operating profit and dividend, helping the utilities sector outperform. Uniper peers RWE and E.ON led gains on the DAX.
Credit Agricole jumped 2.8 per cent, top of France's blue-chips and boosting European banks.
By late morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 41.67 points, or 0.19 per cent, and the S&P 500 was up 4.54 points, or 0.18 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite was up 13.91 points, or 0.22 per cent. Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the financial index’s 0.40 per cent rise leading.
Shares of Michael Kors jumped 20.31 per cent after the retailer raised its full-year revenue forecast, while Ralph Lauren was up 9.79 per cent following revenue and profit beat.
Dean Foods slumped 19.18 per cent after the largest US dairy processor's quarterly results came in below estimates. SeaWorld Entertainment plunged as much as 18.44 per cent to a record low after the theme park company's quarterly revenue missed expectations.
Avis Budget Group fell 7.94 per cent as the car rental company cut its full-year profit view.
(Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters/PA)