London - European shares edged higher early on Wednesday, helped by some strong company earnings, record highs on Wall Street and expectations the US central bank will delay trimming its stimulus for several months.
At 10:03 SA time, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,290.12 points, just below last week's peak of 1,291.93, the highest since 2008.
The index is up more than 13 percent so far this year.
Next rose 5 percent, the biggest gainer on the FTSEurofirst 300, as Britain's second biggest clothing retailer edged up its year profit guidance after posting third quarter sales a touch above expectations.
The market got some support from the Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ending at life-time peaks on Tuesday after data supported the view that the Fed will keep its bond buying programme intact in Wednesday's policy announcement.
A majority of US primary dealers said in a Reuters poll that the recent government shutdown and standoff over raising the US debt ceiling had significantly impacted the likely timing of stimulus reduction.
The Fed is set to release a statement at 20:00 SA time after a two-day meeting. - Reuters