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European shares close lower amid Brexit uncertainty; Provident tumbles 10%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed Tuesday's trade lower by 0.19 percent
  • On the data front, the European economy enjoyed another robust month

European markets closed in the red by a small margin Tuesday as investors digested the latest news surrounding Brexit talks and monitored fresh economic data.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished the day's trading 0.19 percent lower, with major bourses in the red.

Europe's basic resources stocks led the losses, having tumbled 1.41 percent lower by the end of Tuesday's trade amid heavy falls in metals markets. Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American were all over 2 percent down.

Retail was the best performing sector, up 0.76 percent having pared back from gains of over 1 percent in afternoon trade.

Tesco was one of the top performers on Tuesday amid news of a double upgrade from Goldman Sachs. The U.S. broker upgraded Britain's biggest retailer to "buy" from "sell" as it said margin pressure in the U.K. grocery market was easing. Tesco's shares closed up nearly 3 percent, having rallied by over 8.5 percent earlier in the afternoon.

Provident tumbled to the bottom of the benchmark on Tuesday after the U.K.'s financial watchdog opened an investigation into its car and manufacturing arm. The British sub-prime lender said an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would examine its Moneybarn unit. Its shares finished the day's trading down by just over 10 percent.

On the data front, the European economy enjoyed another robust month in November. The euro zone composite PMI — calculated by data firm Markit — surged to 57.5, up from 56.0 in October. That's the highest monthly reading in more than 6.5 years.

Brexit talks to resume

The topic of Brexit will continue to shake up sentiment. In the latest talks between the U.K. and the European Union, both sides failed to agree upon the terms for the U.K. leaving the political-economic bloc on Monday.

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In the U.S., stocks were trading higher as investors continued to be positive about the recently passed Republican bill to overhaul the country's tax system.

Shares in financials have been trading particularly well on the back of potential tax reform, up over 3 percent on the past week. Bank of America jumped more than 1 percent in premarkets after the bank announced a £5 billion stock buyback, on top of a $12 billion repurchase announced earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the technology sector rebounded in Tuesday's trade, having fallen over 3 percent in the past week as investors moved into sectors more likely to benefit from a lower corporate tax rate.