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Europe closes slightly lower; earnings, Greece weigh

European equities closed slightly lower on Tuesday as investors kept an eye on the newly reopened Greek stock market, earnings and oil prices, after the commodity saw a slight recovery.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed around 0.2 percent lower, after a wobbly trading session.

Britain's FTSE 100 failed to hold onto earlier gains, ending trade just shy of the flat line, while the German DAX finished around 0.1 percent higher. The French CAC saw an almost 0.2 percent decline.

In its second day of trading after re-opening, the Greek stock market finished down 1.2 percent, having fallen more than 16 percent on Monday.

Greek bank stocks continued to get hammered on Tuesday, with Bank of Piraeus, the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank closing around 30 percent lower for a second day running.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Euro zone peripheral stocks followed Greece's lead, with Italy's FTSE MIB and the Spanish IBEX closing down 1 percent.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. stocks struggled for direction on Tuesday as investors eyed a continued sharp decline in Apple and a slight recovery in oil prices after the prior day's plunge.

After touching six-month lows on Monday, both Brent crude and WTI light crude oil pared losses on Tuesday. Brent was trading at around $50 per barrel and U.S. light crude was at $46 around 16.30 p.m. London time.

Despite this uptick, the Stoxx 600 oil and gas sector finished narrowly in the red. The index was pressure lower by shares of Seadrill, which ended down around 3.3 percent.

In addition, shares in renewable energy firm Abengoa tanked more than 26 percent after the company unveiled plans to raise more capital and dispose of assets to resolve its cash flow issues.

Another weak performer was France's Credit Agricole, which closed more than 10 percent lower after announcing that it was under investigation by U.S. authorities over potential sanctions breaches.

At the other end of indexes was Continental, whose shares closed 5.7 percent higher after the car parts maker raised its full year profit outlook on a strengthening European car market.