China buoys investors
Earlier in the day, China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for June came in at a six-month high of 51, up from 50.8 in May.
The reading helped boost sentiment in Europe, especially in the U.K., where the FTSE 100 includes a high number of mining companies with heavy exposure to China. Miners dominated the list of top FTSE 100 performers on Tuesday, with Rio Tinto also boosted by an analyst upgrade.
Both U.S. and European stocks got a boost when data out later in the day showed manufacturing orders in the U.S. hit a six-month high. A separate report had U.S. construction spending up 0.1 percent in May.
On the downside, manufacturing activity in the euro zone slid to a seven-month low in June, in a further sign that the region's stuttering recovery is losing momentum. The region's final manufacturing PMI for last month, published by Markit on Tuesday, came in at 51.8 in June, below an earlier estimate of 51.9.
Read MoreEuro zone manufacturing activity hits 7-month low
The euro zone's unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady in May, at 11.6 percent.
BNP pleads guilty
In France, lender BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to two criminal charges relating to allegations that it has violated U.S. sanctions on Monday. It has agreed to pay around $9 billion to resolve the allegations and has been prevented from clearing some transactions in U.S. dollars for one year. Shares of the bank closed up around 4.2 percent on Tuesday.