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European shares close higher after Berlin, Turkey attacks; Mediaset up 23%

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday with investors digesting news of two separate attacks in the German and Turkish capitals.


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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.48 percent higher after trading near the flatline for much of the morning session. Sectors were mostly in positive territory on Tuesday with Oil & Gas stocks among the best performing, up 1.11 percent. The sector had been supported by a steep draw in U.S. crude stocks which could limit global oversupply in the new year.

On Monday evening, twelve people died and 48 are injured after a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin. The German authorities said investigators were assuming the act, which revives memories of another truck attack in the south of France in July, was deliberate.

A few hours before the incident in Berlin, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead while giving a speech at a gallery. An off-duty policeman shouted "Don't forget Aleppo" after shooting the Russian representative.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average continued a bullish run to hit another record high as investors remain undeterred from geopolitical tension.

Mediaset shares surge higher

In individual stocks news, French media group Vivendi announced it would continue to work towards increasing its stake in the Italian Mediaset within the limits of 30 percent. Mediaset shares rocketed up over 23 percent, reaching the top of the pan-European index.

Angelino Alfano, Italy's foreign minister, expressed his concern on Vivendi's move to increase its stake in Mediaset and urged for the market rules to be respected.

"This is something that concerns the whole of the Italian system, not just one company," Angelino said at a briefing in Paris on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

Financial services and banking stocks were among the best performers on Tuesday. Lloyds Group said it was purchasing the MBNA U.K. credit-card business of Bank of America for about $2.35 billion as it tries to boost its consumer-finance business.

Elsewhere, the Italian government is trying to get approval to inject 20 billion euros ($20.80 billion) to rescue its troubled banks. The Atlante fund confirmed Monday that it is pursuing with an investment into the embattled Monte Dei Paschi.

Oil prices little changed

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Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has asked Credit Suisse to pay between $5 and $7 billion to settle a probe over its sale of toxic mortgage securities. Its shares closed up 2.59 percent on Tuesday.

The London Stock Exchange said Tuesday that it is in exclusive talks with Euronext over sale options for the French LCH clearnet, Reuters reported. Euronext ended 2.5 percent higher.

In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $55.26 a barrel on Tuesday, up 0.6 percent, while U.S. WTI crude was around $52.22 a barrel, up 0.15 percent.

Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday due to lower volume before the Christmas holidays and investors adopted a cautious approach to the likely course of action from OPEC, Russia and other oil producers next year.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that Lloyds Group said Tuesday it was purchasing the MBNA U.K. credit-card business of Bank of America.

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