UK stocks : FTSE 100 up 0.9 pct
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said late on Tuesday that the benefits of the stimulus policies were clear, easing financial market concerns about the possibility of an early end to the measures which have helped support risk appetite globally.
Stronger-than-expected U.S. housing data gave the market a further boost in afternoon trade, helping buildings supplies group Wolseley add 2.3 percent.
The benchmark UK index FTSE 100 index closed up 55.44 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,325.88 points, recovering around two-thirds of Tuesday's 85 point drop suffered after Italian elections ended in a stalemate.
However, volumes were around 20 percent lower than during the previous session's sell off, as investors remained concerned about the political uncertainty in Italy and the possible repercussions for the euro zone as a whole.
"It's only recovered a little bit of what it lost and the level of uncertainty remains quite pronounced," said Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital.
"So I am looking at this market thinking it should be 500 points lower than it currently is."
The Italian centre-left bloc secured a majority in the lower house but cannot govern without a deal with either former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the man it blames for ruining Italy, or the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Italy sold the maximum planned 6.5 billion euros ($8.5 billion) of debt at an auction
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