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Europe stocks close lower on Ukraine, earnings

European stocks closed lower on Tuesday, as continued violence in Ukraine and mixed earnings results made investors uneasy.

The U.K. FTSE 100 and German's DAX closed provisionally down 0.7 percent. The French CAC closed unofficially 0.8 percent lower.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC 40
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IBEX 35
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The FTSE retreated from a nine-week high after weak results from companies including Barclays and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Shares in Barclays closed over 5 percent lower after the British bank published its interim management statement. It reported a 5 percent fall in first-quarter adjusted pre-tax profit to £1.7 billion ($2.9 billion), as the fixed-income division of its investment bank slowed dramatically.

Read MoreBarclays profit falls ahead of bank reorganization

Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management closed around 2.6 percent lower, after results showed clients pulled money out of its core emerging market and Asian equity funds.

In Germany, better-than-expected earnings from Lufthansa and Continental helped offset fears over the Ukraine conflict.

Fierce clashes reportedly broke out in the eastern Ukraine region of Slavyansk on Monday. Four Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, and an army helicopter shot down by pro-Russian militants.

Pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in a dozen or more Ukrainian cities in the east. Kiev accuses Moscow of supporting and arming the gunmen—a claim Russia denies.

M&A news

Merger and acquisitions remained in focus in Europe on Tuesday.

German drug maker Bayer announced its plans to acquire the consumer care business of U.S.-based Merck & Co for $14.2 billion in cash. Shares in Bayer closed down around 0.9 percent after the news.

The deal is the latest in a flurry of activity in the pharmaceutical space, which has seen a record volume of mergers and acquisitions this year, according to data provider Dealogic.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, the U.K. pharmaceutical company fighting off approaches from larger U.S. rival Pfizer, bolstered its defense by announcing the earlier-than-expected approval of a new drug.

Read MoreAZ defense against Pfizer boosted by FDA approval

Meanwhile, data out on Tuesday showed business activity in the euro zone hit a three-year high in April. New orders and backlogs of work saw Markit's final euro zone purchasing managers' composite index come in at 54.0, up from 53.1 in March.

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