Stock markets in Europe steadied Wednesday as Wall Street opened solidly following positive earnings news from aluminum company Alcoa.
The company reported better than expected results in an after-hours statement Tuesday. Alcoa traditionally kicks off the quarterly reporting season and its results helped soothe some concerns in the markets.
U.S. corporate earnings could be the biggest driver in markets over the coming weeks as investors look for signs that the strengthening U.S. economy has translated into higher sales and profits.
"With Alcoa kicking things off in style there is now going to be added pressure on companies to perform and back up the recent equity gains with strong corporate performances," said James Hughes, chief market analyst at Alpari.