Europe stocks close higher despite US earnings concerns
European equities closed higher on Tuesday, bolstered by strong U.S. retail sales data for December.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed higher, up 0.1 percent, at 1,326.01 points.
It was bolstered by data showing U.S. consumer spending rose more than expected in December, indicating the economy was gaining traction at the end of last year. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services rose 0.7 percent, after a 0.2 percent increase in November.
The gauge of consumer spending was viewed as particularly important in light of Friday's dismay jobs report for December.
As in Europe, U.S. stocks rose on the news, with the S&P 500 rebounding from its largest decline in two months.
French economic plan
In Europe, French President Francois Hollande held his annual news conference. He set out plans to revive the weak French economy, but deflected questions about his private life following high-profile allegations that he had an affair with an actress.
In the U.K., annual inflation fell to 2.0 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics. This was the first time in four years that the consumer prices index had hit the target set by the Bank of England.
(Read More: UK inflation hits BoE target; first time in 4 years)
Elsewhere, industrial production for November rose by 1.8 percent in the euro area on the month before, according to Eurostat..
In stocks news, shares of online retailer Asos closed lower by around 3.1 percent, despite the company posting a bumper Christmas sales period. Shares have nearly trebled in in the last year.
Balfour Beatty said on Tuesday that its business units were in line to meet expectations for the year; shares in the infrastructure company closed higher by roughly 1.5 percent.
Shares of drug maker AstraZeneca finished higher by around 2.5 percent after it said that it was returning to growth faster than current analyst expectations.
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