Europe Markets

Europe finishes higher as Brent recovers; Miners jump


European stocks came off session highs but posted strong gains by Tuesday's close after a positive trading day in Asia, a mixed bag of earnings and a rebound in mining stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 finished over 1 percent higher, with mining and energy stocks getting a lift after a raft of Chinese data came in line with analyst expectations.

London's FTSE closed up 1.7 percent, boosted by miners, while Germany's DAX finished 1.5 percent up. France's CAC shot ahead, closing up some 2 percent.

Europe's main movers

Basic resources saw its sector jump more than 5 percent before closing up 1.4 percent. Miners Glencore and ArcelorMittal both closed up 5 percent or more, with Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta all posting strong gains following the China data.

Oil prices initially got a boost in early trading, however U.S. crude futures dipped after the IEA said it expected the market to stay oversupplied in 2016. Brent crude climbed some 3 percent to $29.38 however, as investors saw bullish Chinese oil demand data as a buying trigger.

In other individual stocks news, shares in Danish enzymes maker Novozymes tumbled towards the bottom of the STOXX 600, down 8.5 percent after the group cut its longer-term sales forecast as it reported fourth-quarter 2015 earnings roughly in line with analyst expectations. The firm said low oil prices had hurt its growth outlook.

Europe's top performer on the STOXX 600 was Fingerprint, up 16 percent.

Bio energy in the US is a concern: Novozymes CEO

Unilever rallied over 3 percent after its full-year sales figures beat expectations. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Knorr soups, Dove soap and Lipton teas said core operating profit rose by 0.9 billion euros to 7.9 billion euros, broadly in line with analysts' expectations.

Chief executive of French oil and gas major Total, Patrick Pouyanne, said that the group's full-year results are expected to fall, but no job losses are planned as a result of the commodity price downturn. Shares in the firm came off session highs to close up 1.4 percent.

Online supermarket Ocado spiked as much as 13 percent before paring gains after rumors that Amazon was weighing a bid for the retailer in an attempt to tackle a grocery delivery service in the U.K. Shares closed 6.8 percent up.

Italian bank shares continued the free-fall seen in Monday's session, with shares in Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena sinking over 14 percent after being temporarily suspended for a second consecutive day following rapid sharp losses.This follows a slump of 15 percent on Monday. Banco Popolare was also down over 6 percent, with other Italian and Portuguese banks also closing lower.

The dramatic falls are thought to be a result of investors worries that some Italian lenders to write down their portfolio of bad loans after the European Central Bank moved to request more information on their loan books.

Investors digest China data

A worker monitoring the loading of containers on to a ship at the harbour in Qingdao, in northeast China's Shandong province.
China's economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, a 25-year low

China's economic growth rate slowed to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent in 2015 as the world's second-largest economy continues to shift away from its manufacturing roots. China's economy grew 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 from the same period last year, official data showed Tuesday.

The growth figures, still respectable by global standards, were in line with estimates for quarterly growth of 6.8 percent on-year, down from the third quarter's 6.9 percent, according to a Reuters poll, which also found economists expected full-year growth at 6.9 percent, down from 2014's 7.3 percent.

Asia stocks eke out gains in afternoon trade

China's Shanghai Composite surged over 3 percent on the data, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up over 2 percent.

Back in Europe, investors are also gearing up for ECB Governing Council meeting on Thursday this week, where analysts expect no major policy changes and a dovish statement with a clear recognition that more action is possible at some point in the future.

In a chopping trading session, U.S. stocks held onto gains around Europe's close, as investors eyed oil and earnings reports.

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