European markets close higher; BT shares plunge 20%

European markets closed higher on Tuesday as investors digested fresh economic data and earnings reports.

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 ended 0.25 percent higher with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Telecoms were the worst performers on Tuesday and were dragged lower as BT shares tanked more than 20 percent. The telecoms group said an investigation into its Italian business showed errors far greater than previously identified, Reuters reported. BT reported a reduction in its third-quarter adjusted revenue and earnings of around 120 million pounds ($149 million) and cut its outlooks for 2017 and 2018.

Basic Resources stocks were lifted higher by strong demand in the U.K.'s mining index and a weak U.S. dollar. The sector closed up by more than 2.9 percent.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 edged higher after beginning the trading day hovering around the flatline.

Easyjet encounters headwinds

Easyjet told shareholders it expected the weaker sterling would hit profits by more than expected this year sending shares lower on Tuesday. The British low-cost airline reported revenue figures in the first quarter of 997 million pounds ($1244.4 million) in line with expectations. Its shares dropped 8.8 percent on Tuesday.

Dixons Carphone said that its comparable revenue went up by 4 percent in its third quarter and it expects a headline profit between 475 million pounds and 495 million pounds ($592 - $617 million). Its Christmas trading was better than expected with comparable revenue up by 4 percent as well, Reuters reported. Its shares were down by 6.2 percent on Tuesday.

The German multinational software company SAP, and the most valuable in Europe, announced early morning that its operating profit went up by 4 percent to 2.37 billion euros ($2.55) during the fourth quarter. Though the figure was at the lower end of expectations, the firm raised its profit guidance for 2017. It moved slightly higher on Tuesday.

Philips announced earnings before interest, tax, and amortization of 914 million euros ($982.8 million) during the fourth quarter of 2016. Its health portfolio went up by 5 percent. Its shares were down by more than 1.8 percent on Tuesday.

The Swiss bakery Aryzta was at the bottom of the European index, plummeting more than 31.9 percent lower after a profit warning.

On the other hand, Generali was once again at the top of the European index, jumping 8.2 percent. The Italian insurer bought voting rights of Intesa Sanpaolo to prevent the bank from getting a higher stake of the insurer in a deal with the German Allianz.

The U.K. Supreme Court said Tuesday that the government will need parliamentary approval to start Brexit negotiations with the European Union (EU). However, the court rejected arguments that assemblies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should give their assent before Article 50 is invoked.

The FTSE 100 ended flat following the announcement with the Sterling relatively unchanged against the dollar shortly after the European close.

The euro zone purchasing managers index eased slightly to 54.3 from 54.4 in December, IHS Markit said Tuesday. However, the data showed a recovery in the labor market with the largest monthly rise in employment figures since February 2008.

"The euro zone economy has started 2017 on a strong note. The January flash PMI is signaling respectable quarterly GDP growth of 0.4 percent with a broad-based expansion across both manufacturing and services," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said in a statement.

In France, the composite output index went up to 53.8 from 53.1 in December, a 67-month high. In Germany, PMI composite was 54.7 from 55.2 in December, reaching a four-month low.

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