Stocks - Europe Mixed; Banks in Focus During Earnings Season

European stock markets traded mixed on Wednesday, with results from the likes of Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn), Barclays (LON:BARC) and Santander (MC:SAN) in focus ahead of the latest policy announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

At 4:05 AM ET (0805 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% lower, the CAC 40 in France up 0.8% and the U.K.'s FTSE index was up 0.2%.

Deutsche Bank posted a second-quarter loss despite a strong performance at its investment bank, as it put aside 761 million euros ($891.5 million) to cover credit losses. Its stock climbed 0.4%.

Santander stock dropped 3.6% after reporting a 12.6 billion-euro impairment, resulting in an unexpected heavy loss, while Barclays, down 3.3%, set aside 1.6 billion pounds.

Elsewhere, Tullow Oil (LON:TLW) said it expects to report lower revenue and forecast pretax impairments of between $1.4 billion and $1.7 billion in its first-half results. Its stock dropped 4.7%.

In the retail sector, Next (LON:NXT) jumped 7.3% to a four-month high after it reinstated full-year guidance in the wake of a second quarter that turned out far better than it expected. Kering (PA:PRTP) rose 4.8% after reporting a smaller-than-expected decline in quarterly sales thanks to strong online business that contrasted with its rival LVMH. Puma (DE:PUMG) stock also rose 4.1% on the back of a loss that was narrower-than-expected.

Elsewhere, Sanofi (PA:SASY), up 0.8%, and GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK), up 0.9%, signed a deal to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a possible Covid-19 vaccine the pair are developing.

Mining giant Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) rose 0.8% after announcing a dividend increase and a strong outlook for the rest of the year.

However, the day will be dominated by the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decisions and press conference at 2 PM ET (1800 GMT). The Fed isn't expected to change its interest rates or bond-buying policy, but on Tuesday extended most of its emergency lending facilities for another three months. Some have speculated that Chairman Jerome Powell may indicate a future further loosening of policy at his press conference.

Oil prices edged higher, helped by a surprise drop in U.S. inventories although gains are minor given concerns about the potential hit to fuel demand from the pandemic remain.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% higher at $41.30 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent rose 0.8% to $43.94.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,953.55/oz, still at highly elevated levels, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1757, up 0.4%.