Oil helps Europe shares close higher; BP jumps

European shares closed higher on Tuesday, as overnight gains in oil prices boosted energy stocks and an upturn on Wall Street helped investor sentiment.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index ended up around 0.5 percent. The U.K. benchmark FTSE 100 outperformed, closing provisionally higher by 1.2 percent. Germany DAX was the only major bourse in the red, ending provisionally lower by 0.2 percent.


U.S. and Brent crude oil posted modest losses on Tuesday, but energy stocks were sharply higher after Monday night's commodity rally.

Premier Oil and Tullow Oil both ended Tuesday's session more than 6 percent higher. The latter was the top performer on the FTSE 100.

BP closed up around 4.7 percent, with Reuters citing trader speculation that the oil supermajor would make a bid for rival Royal Dutch Shell. Shell's A shares also closed up over 4 percent. Neither company would comment on the speculation.

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, rebounding from the prior day's drop, as investors considered better-than-expected November sales from Ford Motor, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. This boosted afternoon trade in Europe.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail tumbled around 3 percent to the bottom of the FTSE 100, after a ruling by a U.K. regulator failed to appease its competition concerns.

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