European equities closed mixed on Tuesday, having wobbled in-and-out of positive territory on a day of disappointing earnings in Europe, but a marked improvement in U.S. shares.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 0.1 percent lower at 1,271.79 points.
London's unofficially closed 0.2 percent lower despite upbeat construction data from the U.K. The January construction PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) surprised with a reading of 64.6, the highest level for around seven years.
In Spain, there was yet more disappointing news on the jobs front, with the National Statistics Institute reporting that the number of registered jobless in the country rose by 2.4 percent in January from a month earlier, leaving an unemployment rate of 26 percent. However, the Spanish provisionally closed 0.1 percent higher.
BP, ARM leading weak earnings
Oil company BP reported weaker quarterly profits and said it would increase the accounting provision for the 2010 U.S. oil spill by $200 million. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 men and was the United States' worst-ever offshore environmental disaster. Shares of the company closed higher by around 0.4 percent.
(Read more: BP profit hit by refining weakness, upsspill charge)
U.K. online supermarket Ocado — which saw shares increase over 380 percent last year — announced that sales rose by 17 percent to £843 million ($1.4 billion) in 2013. However, it also announced that Jason Gissing, one of the ex-Goldman Sachs bankers who founded the company, would be leaving. Shares closed won around 2.6 percent.
(Read more: Ocado founder steps down as online goes mainstream)
Swiss banking group UBS on Tuesday reported fourth quarter net profit well above analysts' expectations, helped by a tax benefit, allowing shares to buck the European trend and close nearly 6 percent higher.
However, in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 4.2 percent to a four-month low on Tuesday. Despite Japan's brighter economic outlook and an improvement in corporate profits, the country's stocks are now down 14 percent year-to-date.
(Read more: How bad will the Nikkei meltdown get?)
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