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Europe logs best annual gains since 2009; stocks up for 4th straight month

European markets closed slightly higher on Tuesday in a shortened session, completing their most successful year of this decade.

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index ticked marginally higher in a thin day of trade on Tuesday. European markets were either closed or only open for half a day's trading.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed provisionally higher on they day by 0.2 percent at 6,746.40 points. France's CAC 40 closed unofficially higher by 0.5 percent at 4,295.51 points and Spain's IBEX 35 closed provisionally higher by 0.2 percent at 9,916.70 points.

In individual stocks news, U.K. retailer Debenhams saw its shares fall 12 percent after issuing a profit warning that highlighted weak sales in the run-up to Christmas.

Europe logs best gains since 2009

The STOXX 600 has clocked gains of 17 percent this year, the most since 2009, with central bank stimulus and signs of a global recovery helping equities higher.

The best-performing sector on the index was the auto industry, which rose 37 percent, with financial services and media stocks just behind.

The top-performing individual stock was Ocado, the U.K. online grocery service, which soared by 408 percent.

The worst-performing stock was Spain's struggling lender Bankia, which lost 74 percent during 2013

ISEQ ends year 33% higher

The FTSE 100 rose 14 percent this year, with gains only capped by the basic resources sector, which was weak across Europe. The worst-performing stocks on the U.K.'s benchmark index were all mining stocks — Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Randgold Resources.

Germany's Dax index ended 2013 up 26 percent on Monday, after a year in which faith in a euro zone recovery has returned to the markets.

France's CAC 40 finished the year 17.4 percent higher, the Spanish IBEX 35 closed 21.2 percent higher and Italy's FTSE MIB rose 12.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Ireland's ISEQ index was one of the best performers in Europe, soaring higher by nearly 33 percent in 2013.

(Read more: Asian markets to end year higher)

In Asian trading on Tuesday, markets were quiet with Tokyo, the region's star performer this year after its government brought in more aggressive monetary policies, shut. The Nikkei index closed 2013 with a hearty 57 percent annual gain.

Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld

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