Europe Markets

Europe closes lower; Oil majors under pressure

Europe closes lower; Oil majors under pressure

European stock indexes accelerated losses to close lower on Tuesday, after seesawing during the trading session.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 dipped into negative territory during the afternoon and closed provisionally lower by 1.0 percent at 1,327.0.

The British benchmark FTSE 100 index closed provisionally down 0.5 percent, outperforming the German Dax and French Cac, which closed down by around 0.9 percent and 1.5 percent respectively

Peripheral indexes were the worst performers, with the Spanish IBEX, Portuguese PSI 20 and Italian FTSE MIB all closing down by more than 2.0 percent.

Read MoreEurope economy 'not improving fast enough': EU

Stocks were hit during late afternoon by reports that national central bankers could be planning to challenge European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Wednesday over his management and communication style.

Markets originally turned negative after the European Union's executive body slashed its growth outlook for the euro zone.

"The economic and employment situation is not improving fast enough," said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen in the Commision's autumn economic report.

Brent crude fell towards $82 a barrel on Tuesday, extending losses to a fourth session after top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut prices to the United States but raised them to Asia and Europe. There are no signs that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will curb output in an already well-supplied market, showing that the group is reluctant to cede market share to the U.S.

Oil-related stocks under pressure

In corporate news, oil majors were under pressure as Brent prices continued to slide. The oil and gas sector was the biggest faller across Europe. BP and Royal Dutch Shell fell over 2 percent, while Total slipped around 2.5 percent.

Declining oil prices also hit U.S. stocks. Wall Street opened modestly higher, although benchmark indexes remained near record highs.

Cosmetics giant 'L'Oreal said its sales growth in the third quarter slumped to its the lowest level since 2009 after market close yesterday. The group put this weak trading down to weak trading at its mass-market products division, particularly in western Europe. Shares in the group were the worst performer in the French CAC, falling over 2 percent.

Germany luxury car maker BMW saw its third-quarter operating profit rise by 17 percent, beating expectations as demand for sports utility vehicle surged.

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