European stocks opened higher on Wednesday, despite ongoing concerns over geopolitical tensions around the globe and ahead of the French presidential election.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.75%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.74%, while Germany's DAX 30 advanced 0.75%.
Earlier in the week, a U.S. Navy strike group was sent toward the western Pacific - a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an "armada".
North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the U.S. at any sign of American aggression.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was expected in Moscow on Wednesday, where he was set to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss Ukraine, counterterrorism, bilateral relations and other issues, including the Korean Peninsula and Syria.
Separately, the United Nations Security Council was set to host a meeting regarding the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (OTCPK:SCGLF, PA:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQF, PA:BNPP) gained 0.85% and 0.40%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (DB, DE:DBKGn) rallied 0.98%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (OTCPK:IITOF, MI:ISP) and Unicredit (OTCPK:UNCFF, MI:CRDI) advanced 0.42% and 0.59% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA, MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (SAN, MC:SAN) climbed 0.47% and 0.60%, respectively.
On the downside, Fortum Oyj (OTCPK:FOJCF, HE:FORTUM) fell 0.31% after the Finnish energy company failed on Tuesday to convince investors with a commission for a 70-MW solar project.
In London, FTSE 100 advanced 0.48%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts higher.
Shares in Lloyds Banking (LYG, LON:LLOY) rose 0.27% and HSBC Holdings (HSBC, LON:HSBA) gained 0.71%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS, LON:RBS) and Barclays (BCS, LON:BARC) jumped 0.85% and 1.02% respectively.
Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK, LON:GSK) advanced 0.36%, after falling on Tuesday when it said it was recalling 600,000 asthma inhalers.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were mostly lower on the commodity-heavy index. Shares in BHP Billiton (BHP, LON:BLT) eased 0.08% and Rio Tinto (RIO, LON:RIO) edged down 0.20%, while Randgold Resources (GOLD, LON:RRS) retreated 0.80%. Glencore (OTC:GNCNF, LON:GLEN) overperformed, however, with shares adding 0.17%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.19% increase, S&P 500 futures showed a 0.18% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.17% rise.