Europe Markets

Europe closes lower as oil prices, miners tumble

European stocks finished in negative territory on Tuesday, on the back of a sharp slip in mining stocks and oil prices.

Miners fall

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed down 1.1 percent provisionally, with all sectors ending in the red. London's FTSE fell some 0.6 percent and Germany's DAX was off 0.6 percent at the close. France's CAC, however, slid 0.7 to 0.8 percent.

Europe's basic resources was the worst performing sector on Tuesday, finishing down some 4.7 percent, as weak earnings and a fall in metal prices weighed on the sector. London-listed shares of the copper miner Antofagasta slipped as much as 10 percent before paring to close just 4.5 percent lower. Earlier, the company reported that full-year pre-tax profit in 2015 fell 82.9 percent to $259.4 million. The company also cancelled its final dividend.

Other miners, such as Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, were also among the worst performers in the sector. Anglo American closed trade near the bottom of benchmarks, falling almost 11 percent.

Oil prices, earnings rock markets

Oil prices continued their declines on Tuesday, as market participants cited technical resistance after prices ran above $40 a barrel and worry that U.S. crude stockpiles had continued to rise despite falling production, according to Reuters. Uncertainty over what the Federal Reserve will say or do on Tuesday and Wednesday, added concerns to the market.

Brent crude was off some 2.5 percent, trading at $38.61 a barrel, while U.S. crude slid to trade just above $36.

Stocks came under pressure on the back of this, with Tullow Oil closing more than 11 percent down, while Seadrill, Total and Subsea 7 were all ended sharply lower. U.S. stocks traded lower at Europe's close on the back of the low oil price.

In individual stock news, Sainsbury finished down 1.1 percent despite the U.K. retailer posting the first quarterly underlying sales growth in two years.

H&M shares slip

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U.K. fashion firm, French Connection reported a bigger full-year loss on Tuesday, while, Hennes & Mauritz announced net sales from December through to February, coming in at 43.7 billion crowns ($5.24 billion), which was slightly below forecasts, according to Reuters.

H&M shares slipped 3 percent, with both business reports adding pressure to the retail space. Burberry, Hugo Boss and Kering all closed sharply lower.

Health care firm, Galenica was Europe's worst performer, closing down over 14 percent after announcing its latest set of results. Traders said its shares fell as the company's outlook was vague and disappointing, Reuters reported.

Central banks in focus

European markets followed a shaky lead in Asia where markets were mostly lower overnight. The Bank of Japan decided to keep its monetary policy steady rather than increasing its firepower. Economists now expect further stimulus in July as the central bank waits to assess the impact of its uncharted entry into negative interest rates.

Investors around the world have now turned their attention to a two-day meeting of the U.S.' Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) which begins on Tuesday (with an interest rates decision due Wednesday). No move on rates is expected, but comments from policymakers will be scrutinized for indications on the path of tightening.

Later this week, the Bank of England meets on Thursday and Norway and Switzerland also hold central bank meetings.

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Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this market report.

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