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Europe shares close higher after upbeat energy results

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday thanks to strong earnings from BP and Saipem, as well as upbeat results from Finnish handset maker Nokia.

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The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed higher by 0.4 percent at 1,287.99 points, nearing last week's five-year peaks.

Britain's FTSE 100 closed unofficially up 0.8 percent, while the Spanish IBEX and Italian MIB were 1.8 and 2.2 percent higher respectively.

BP shares closed 5.6 percent higher after it unveiled forecast-beating results and promised to sell more assets and return the proceeds to shareholders.

(Read More: BP hikes dividend as profit beats forecasts)

Italian oil services group Saipem saw shares jump by 4.7 percent after it dispelled fears about a new profit warning, leading some speculative sellers to close their negative bets on the stock.

However, banking stocks suffered on Tuesday: shares of UBS closed down 7.7 percent after third quarter profits slightly beat expectations, but growing provisions for litigation signaled the Swiss banking giant still faced regulatory issues.

(Read More: UBS profit beats but hurt by new capital demands)

Lloyds Banking Group, which is 33 percent owned by the U.K. taxpayer, announced an additional charge of £750 million over the mis-selling of loan payment protection insurance; shares closed down by 2.0 percent.

Also on Tuesday, investors awaited the Federal Reserve's two-day policy-setting meeting for clues as to when the U.S. central bank will start to wind down its bond-buying program. Central bank members are expected to maintain the purchasing program until April 2014, according to the latest CNBC survey.

The Fed last met in September and surprised markets with its decision not to start tapering. Recent lackluster data from the U.S. and the political impasse over the country's budget has reinforced the general opinion among economists that the Fed will not taper imminently.

In the U.S., stocks traded near session highs on Tuesday, propelling the S&P 500 to a fresh high, as investors digested a batch of economic and earnings reports and ahead of the Fed's meeting.

"There's usually a bit of caution going into the Fed meeting, but this is a market that's fairly optimistic that [the Fed] is going to have a dovish statement," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "This has become a taper-on, taper-off market, instead of a risk-on, risk off."

In the U.K., the country's "big six" energy companies were grilled by U.K. lawmakers on Tuesday about why they had hiked their consumer energy bills by an average of 9.1 percent, just before the onset of winter.

In Spain, retail sales rose by 2.2 percent year-on-year on a calendar-adjusted basis in September, according to official data. The data from the National Statistics Institute showed the first rise in retail sales in more than three years.

Nokia shares closed up nearly 7 percent after the company released its first financial results since announcing it was selling its handset division to Microsoft. Operating profit came in at 118 million euros ($162 million) for the third quarter, compared to a loss of 564 million euros over the same period last year.

(Read More: Nokia shares surgeas losses narrow in third quarter)

Telecom Italia shares closed up 6.1 percent after Telefonica's chairman told Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta that investments in technology and employment levels in the company will be guaranteed. Telefonica is Telecom Italia's biggest shareholder and the firm agreed to gradually buy out co-investors in Telco, the holding company that owns 22.4 percent of Telecom Italia.

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