Europe Markets

European markets close near 21-month highs; Commerzbank drops lower


European markets closed higher Tuesday and moved closer towards 21-month highs after being supported by stabilizing commodity prices.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.57 percent at 7,342; the DAX closed up 0.43 percent at 12,749, and the French CAC was higher by 0.28 percent at 5,398.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished trading up 0.45 percent, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory as they closed in on peaks not seen since late summer 2015. Britain's blue-chip stock index, the FTSE 100, soared over 70 points to reach its highest level since U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a June 8 general election.

Basic resources was the best performer by close of play Tuesday as copper futures appeared on track to buck a losing streak. The metal edged up 0.2 percent to $5,508 a ton, causing mining giants Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Glencore to all trade over 1.8 percent higher.

On the earnings front, Commerzbank reported a 28 percent increase in net earnings for the first three months of the year on Tuesday. Germany's second-largest lender beat analyst expectations and said it would aim to keep its base costs stable throughout the year. However, despite a 3 percent rally during Tuesday deals, it closed up down 0.4 percent.

Elsewhere, Adecco's first-quarter profit rose more than a fifth as the world's largest temporary staffing company continued to get a boost from major markets in southern Europe. Its shares rose over 2.2 percent as the Zurich-based firm beat analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, Micro Focus plummeted close to hitting the bottom of the European benchmark on Tuesday after the British information technology firm said it is disappointed with the declining revenue at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise business it is buying. It closed the day down 5.6 percent.

British utility provider Centrica also faced pressure as Prime Minister May pledged to cap energy prices if successful in the June election. It ended down 1.18 percent.

On the other side of the Atlantic, U.S. markets were seen higher in morning deals, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite hitting new records after being buoyed by lower volatility.

'Too much of a good thing'

The VIX volatility index, a common measure of fear in the stock market, sunk to a 23-year low on Tuesday.

The victory for centrist and pro-EU candidate, Emmanuel Macron, in Sunday's French election, appeared to significantly reduce volatility in the euro zone which, according to Societe Generale's global fixed income strategist, could prove to be "too much of a good thing" for investors.

"The risk is plain - super-easy monetary policy is creating artificially low volatility and driving money into trades and investments that are mispriced as a result," SocGen's Kit Juckes noted in an email.

In terms of data, German imports and exports hit a record high in March, with the latest figures showing Europe's largest economy is importing and exporting more than ever before.

Elsewhere, South Korea held presidential elections on Tuesday following the dismissal of former premier Park Guen-hye in March when the country's constitutional court upheld her impeachment regarding alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.