Europe Markets

European stocks close mixed; Yellen says Fed on track for rate hike; Aryzta up 11.5%


European markets closed mixed on Tuesday as investors digested a slew of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended fractionally above the flatline with most sectors in negative territory and major bourses mixed. Basic resources and construction stocks were among the worst performers, down by about 0.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively.

At the top of the benchmark was Aryzta, the Swiss food business, after both the chief executive and the chief financial officer announced their departures, sending shares higher by 11.5 percent. Online gambling company Kindred Group closed up by more than 10 percent, after announcing fourth-quarter results.

Credit Suisse announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 results. The Swiss bank also said it would cut 6,500 jobs and its shares closed up by more than 2.3 percent.

In the U.K., Tui Group announced Tuesday it was looking at other markets to boost the number of holidaymakers at its hotels, after reporting a drop in net losses. Its shares were up by more than 5.2 percent.

Rolls Royce reported a record loss of £4.6 billion ($5.8 billion) on Tuesday due to the fall in the pound and after settling bribery charges. As a result, its shares sank to close down by 3.9 percent. The French utility company EDF said Tuesday its core 2016 earnings fell more than 2.1 percent due to a reduction in nuclear production.

Shares of global biotechnology specialty care group Ipsen ended 2 percent lower after Societe Generale downgraded the company to hold from buy.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average and broader S&P 500 continued mixed after stocks had closed at record highs in the previous session.

Elsewhere, Peugeot jumped over 4.3 percent after the French automaker said it was in talks with General Motors.

"We are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aimed at improving operational efficiencies, including a potential acquisition of Opel," Peugeot said in a statement to CNBC.

"Since , 2012 PSA and General Motors have been working on 3 projects in Europe generating substantial synergies for the two groups. That's why today we confirm that we have more exploration about our alliance," Peugeot said.

UK inflation rises

On the data front, U.K. inflation figures grew at their fastest pace last month since June 2014 on higher oil prices and the fall in the British currency. Meanwhile, gross domestic product in the euro zone was revised downwards Tuesday on lower-than-expected industrial output. The euro area grew 0.4 percent on the quarter in the last three months of 2016, after a preliminary estimate of 0.5 percent.

Janet Yellen confirmed she intended to complete her tenure as Chair of the Federal Reserve, which finishes next February, as she addressed the Senate's banking committee on Tuesday.

Yellen also suggested that the U.S. central bank remained on course for an interest rate rise assuming the economy is in line with forecasts. The U.S. dollar hit a three-week high as gold prices slipped during her testimony.

Overnight, news of fiscal stimulus in the U.S. lifted the dollar, bond yields and stocks on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, oil prices were slightly higher on Tuesday following reports that OPEC countries are complying with a production freeze. However, increased output in other parts of the globe has meant that oil prices remained within a narrow trading level.

Brent crude traded at around $56.07 a barrel on Tuesday shortly after the European close, up 0.88 percent, while U.S. crude was around $53.32 a barrel, up 0.76 percent.

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