Stock indices traded higher on comments by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. She said in a speech to the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday that the Fed would hike its interest rate gradually.
Yellen noted that the Fed should be cautious in hiking rates as risks from global economic and financial developments rose since December.
"Given the risks to the outlook, I consider it appropriate for the Committee to proceed cautiously in adjusting policy," Fed chairwoman said.
European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview with Politico published on the central bank's website on Wednesday that negative interest rates were not the central bank's main monetary policy tool. He pointed out that the ECB would not cut interest rates "into absurdly negative territory", adding that further actions were possible.
Market participants also eyed the economic data from the Eurozone. The European Commission released its economic sentiment index for the Eurozone on Wednesday. The index slid to 103.0 in March from 103.9 in February. February's figure was revised up from 103.8. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 103.8.
The drop was driven by lower confidence among consumers and managers in the services and construction sectors.
The industrial confidence index declined to -4.2 in March from -4.1 in February, in line with expectations. February's figure was revised down from -4.0.
The final consumer confidence index was down to -10.0 in March from -8.8 in February, missing expectations for a decline to -9.7.
The business climate index increased to 0.11 in March from 0.09 in February. February's figure was revised up from 0.07. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 0.08.
The rise in business climate index was driven by a more favourable managers' assessment of past production.
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 6,197.89 91.99 1.51 %
DAX 10,035.17 147.23 1.49 %
CAC 40 4,436.18 69.51 1.59 %