European equities came under pressure on Tuesday, closing mixed despite new unemployment figures from the euro zone showing the region taking a step in the right direction.
Jobless rate falls
The main focus for investors on Tuesday was euro zone unemployment data, which showed the jobless rate had fallen to 10.7 percent in October, from 10.8 percent in September.
Asian markets maintained a positive run on Tuesday, however, in China, markets finished mixed after investor sentiment took a hit from private and official November PMI surveys.
Investors are additionally focused on two crucial events later in the week, before the Federal Open Market Committee meets in mid-December. On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce its monetary policy decision, then on Friday in the U.S. November non-farm payrolls are out.
Oil prices are also a hot topic this week, as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will gather to discuss the current outlook on oil. With fears that OPEC will stick to its current output policy, Brent crude and U.S. crude were trading slightly lower by the close, at $44.41 and $41.56 respectively.
Linde tanks over 14%; UK banks jump
One of the best performers was Drax Group, finishing up 12.4 percent, after the European Commission approved the U.K. government's support for the biomass conversion of the coal-fired Lynemouth power plant. This sent German utilities firm, RWE soaring, up 16.6 percent.
The worst performer was Linde, tanking 14.3 percent after the German industrial company cut its 2017 profit target.
U.K. based banks were trading sharply higher after all the financial institutions passed the Bank of England's latest round of "stress tests". Barclays was the FTSE's top performer, jumping 4.6 percent, with shares in Lloyds and HSBC also closing sharply higher. RBS ended 3.2 percent up, despite the bank coming close to failing the test.
Zurich Insurance reported that the company's chief executive, Martin Senn, was stepping down on Tuesday, however shares only closed 0.4 percent down.
Japan urged Nissan and Renault to continue their alliance amid speculation that the Japanese automaker may raise its stake in Renault to fend off French government moves to increase its control over the partnership, Reuters reported. Shares of Renault however pared gains, closing 0.5 percent lower.
French carmaker Peugeot Citroen slipped 1.3 percent despite data showing that French car registration rose 11.3 percent in November.
Russia Turkey tensions
In other news, tensions between Russian and Turkey deteriorated further Monday when Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the reason Turkey downed a Russian warplane last week was that it wanted to protect supplies of oil from Islamic State, Reuters reported.
Global heads of state have converged on Paris for a United Nations summit on climate change. There are hopes that the leaders at this summit can find agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the failure to do so at the last conference in Copenhagen six years ago.