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Europe ends in the black following strong PMIs, oil bounce; FTSE, banks fall

Europe posted solid gains by Tuesday's market close, supported by a strong uptick in oil prices, positive business activity data and a solid performance by the German DAX.

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The pan-European STOXX 600 closed near session highs, ending 0.64 percent up with almost all sectors and bourses closing in positive territory.

Germany's DAX led the gains, closing up 1.18 percent supported by solid data, while France's CAC closed up 0.49 percent. Meanwhile the FTSE 100 ended down 0.34 percent with HSBC's performance weighing on the index.

Investors were given a lift during trade, on the back of a better-than-expected euro zone composite Purchasing Managers Index for February, which came in at 56.0 – the highest level since April 2011. France meanwhile reported a composite PMI of 56.2 for February, well above analyst forecasts, while Germany also surged to a figure of 56.1 for the month.

The oil and gas sector outperformed its fellow counterparts, as oil prices rose sharply during Tuesday's trade.

According to Reuters, OPEC said it would be sticking to its agreement to cut production, adding that it hoped compliance from the deal would be higher in the future. At the market close, Brent stood at $56.97 per barrel, while U.S. crude hovered at $54.37.

Sticking with commodities, oilfield services company John Wood Group was the STOXX 600's worst performer, after a heavy fall in full-year profits missed market expectations. The company's shares plummeted almost 8 percent.

Investors paid close attention to HSBC after it reported disappointing earnings. The continent's biggest bank in terms of assets reported a 62 percent slump in annual pre-tax profits which proved to be significantly below analysts' expectations due to one-off charges.

Shares finished 6.5 percent down, which not only dragged down the FTSE 100, but also the banks, which bucked the positive trend to close down 0.94 percent as a sector.

However, semiconductor manufacturers ams AG and Dialog Semiconductor were some of the best performers on Tuesday, closing up 6.6 percent and 3.3 percent respectively. Dialog was boosted after Commerzbank and JP Morgan raised their price targets on the stock. The tech sector closed up 1.37 percent.

In the U.S., all major stock market indexes traded higher at Europe's close, as investors eyed earnings and news out of the U.S. administration.

Elsewhere, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney addressed the Treasury Select Committee, stressing the U.K.'s central bank would not hesitate to change policy if it is deemed appropriate. Bank of England policymaker, Gertjan Vlieghe, spoke alongside Carney and cautioned the committee that forecasting errors were inevitable.

"We are probably not going to forecast the next financial crisis, or forecast the next recession. Our models are just not that good," Vlieghe, Bank of England MPC member, said on Tuesday.

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