By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets struggled for direction on Wednesday, with investors taking a breather after a solid rally the prior day and digesting the latest developments in the Syria conflict.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.1% to 309.97, after closing at the highest level since May 22 on Tuesday.
Shares of ARM Holdings PLC (ARMHY) rallied 4.7% after Deutsche Bank said the chip maker will benefit from the launch of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone 5S.
Southern European banks were also on the rise after J.P. Morgan Cazenove said it has become more positive on banks from the region for the first time in two years. The analysts upgraded UniCredit SpA to overweight from neutral, helping lift the shares 2.6%, and raised Intesa Sanpaolo SpA to neutral from underweight, sending the shares 1.6% higher.
On a more downbeat note, J.P. Morgan Cazenove cut HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) to neutral from overweight to avoid exposure to emerging markets. The shares dropped 0.9%.
More broadly, investors in Europe continued to monitor developments in the Syria conflict, where the risk of a military intervention has receded. U.S. President Barack Obama late Tuesday asked Congress to delay a vote on whether to authorize a strike in Syria after Russia suggested Bashar al-Assad's government give up its chemical weapons to the international community to avert an attack.
Obama has tried to build support in Congress and internationally to launch an intervention in Syria, after government forces there allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians.
U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street after a rally on Tuesday.
Back in Europe, the country-specific indexes were mixed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.2% to 6,573.26, while France's CAC 40 index lost 0.2% to 4,106.63. Germany's DAX 30 index rose 0.2% to 8,465.07.
-Sara Sjolin; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
09-11-13 0409ETCopyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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