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European markets close higher amid metal gains; Provident Financial tumbles 66%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.8 percent Tuesday with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
  • Provident Financial shares plummeted more than 66 percent after it announced its CEO Peter Crook was leaving the firm while the company said it is unlikely to be able to pay a dividend this year.
  • In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 moved higher as financials rebounded from losses seen Monday.

European markets closed higher on Tuesday as investors awaited the annual central banking conference in Jackson Hole later this week.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day up 0.8 percent with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Basic resources stocks led the gains on Tuesday, up more than 1.7 percent on strong metal prices and earnings news. Copper edged towards its highest peak in almost three years in the previous session while zinc hovered near decade-highs. Europe's mining giant, Antofagasta, surged higher after it reported surging profits in the first half of the year. Its shares closed the day up almost 2 percent.

Healthcare, too, was higher by more than 1.2 percent. Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck rose more than 3.6 percent announcing plans to increase its share capital, while dental implant firm Straumann continued to benefit from strong results posted last week. Its shares closed the day up 3.7 percent.

It was retailer Tesco, however, that posted the greatest gains and rose to the top of the European benchmark. Its shares were up 4 percent on news of growing sales.

On the other end, the financial services sector dipped lower by 0.4 percent with a number of European firms trading in negative territory.

Looking at individual stocks, Britain's second-biggest house builder, Persimmon, reported profits for the first six months of the year rose 30 percent when compared to the same period a year earlier. However, the firm stressed it would remain cautious with land purchases amid uncertainty around Brexit. Its shares were more than 1.7 percent higher on the news.

Provident Financial shares plummeted more than 66 percent on Tuesday after it announced its CEO Peter Crook was leaving the firm while the company said it is unlikely to be able to pay a dividend this year. The British subprime lender also issued its second profit warning in two months.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 moved higher as financials rebounded from losses seen Monday.

German data disappoints

Germany's monthly economic sentiment index came in below analysts projections on Tuesday. The ZEW Institute cited a "strong decrease in expectations" as the index fell to 10 in August, down from 17.5 last month.

Over in Britain, the U.K. saw its first July surplus in 15 years and defied expectations of another deficit. The Office for National Statistics reported a modest surplus in July, while analysts had predicted the government would borrow £1 billion ($1.28 billion).

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is poised to speak at Friday's Jackson Hole conference, though further clues regarding the U.S. central bank's monetary policy is viewed as unlikely. Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is not expected to deliver any new policy message in Wyoming, Reuters reported citing two unnamed sources.

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