During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.35%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.51%, while Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.15%.
Market players remained focused on developments surrounding the fiscal cliff in the U.S., approximately USD600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into effect on January 1.
President Barack Obama was to end his vacation and return to Washington on Thursday in order to take part in talks to avert the crisis ahead of the year-end deadline. Both chambers of Congress are also due to return to work on Thursday.
Without a deal, the U.S. could fall back into recession and drag much of the world down with it.
Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lender Societe Generale added 0.07%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank advanced 0.64% and 0.76%.
Clariant added to gains, with shares rallying 2.98% after the specialty chemicals maker sold units for CHF502 million.
Meanwhile, Vivendi climbed 0.87% as KT Corp., South Korea’s second-largest mobile-phone carrier, submitted a preliminary bid for Vivendi’s stake in Moroccan carrier Maroc Telecom as it aims to expand in Africa.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 dipped 0.04%, despite sharp gains in oil and mining stocks.
Oil and gas major Anglo American surged 1.34% and mining group Evraz rallied 1.83%, while Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton advanced 1.30% and 1.02% respectively.
Copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys were also on the upside, as shares jumped 0.80% and 1.04%.
Elsewhere, financial stocks were mostly higher, as HSBC Holdings added 0.18% and the Royal Bank of Scotland climbed 0.50%, while Lloyds Banking advanced 0.85%. Barclays underperformed on the other hand, dropping 0.40%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.05% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.06% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.09% loss.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish its weekly government report on initial jobless claims, as well as data on new home sales and consumer confidence.