Wall Street was mixed, reflecting better-than-expected corporate earnings including from Morgan Stanley as well as disappointing results from IBM.

In 1.53pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite Index, however, rose 0.5 per cent. In 1.38pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.1 per cent.

"It's really a battle between geopolitical headlines and earnings right now, and for the most part earnings seem to be winning in the short term," Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at the Private Client Reserve of US Bank in Palm Beach Florida, told Reuters.

The Dow fell as shares of IBM dropped, recently down 4.5 per cent. Shares of Chevron also declined, down 1 per cent recently.

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IBM posted revenue that disappointed analysts, raising questions about the company's outlook.

"In 2016, they were really on a winning streak both in terms of stock performance and in terms of beating street expectations on revenue," Greg McDowell, an analyst at JMP Securities, told Bloomberg. "When a company that size has a streak and that streak comes to an end, investors really want to dig into the underlying reasons."

On the flipside, shares of Morgan Stanley rose, trading 2.8 per cent stronger as of 1.54pm in New York, as the bank posted stronger-than-expected earnings bolstered by bond trading revenue.

Keeping a lid on gains, investors are closely watching developments on tensions between the US and North Korea as well as the first round of French elections, slated for Sunday.

"We're still hugely vulnerable to political risks," Christopher Jeffery, asset allocation strategist at Legal & General Investment Management in London, told Bloomberg. "Polling for the first round of the French election is hugely tight. We have no clear indication of how the drama in North Korea will play out. And those factors are more important to us than the ebb and flow of earnings news in the short term."

Meanwhile, the US economy grew at a pace "equally split between modest and moderate" between mid-February and the end of March, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book report.

"In addition, the pickup was evident to varying degrees across economic sectors," the Fed noted. "On balance, prices rose modestly."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.2 per cent advance from the previous close. Germany's DAX Index rose 0.1 per cent, while France's CAC40 Index gained 0.3 per cent.

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The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 0.5 per cent.

Shares of Burberry Group dropped 7.9 per cent in London after the UK luxury retailer reported fourth-quarter retail comparable sales that failed to meet expectations.