Automotive stocks were among the negative performers Tuesday, down 0.1 percent amid weaker-than-expected car registrations data. Schaeffler sank to the bottom of both the sector and the Stoxx 600, down almost 5 percent.
Looking at individual stocks, advertising firm Publicis Groupe fell toward the bottom of the pan-European index, after Macquarie downgraded the stock from "outperform" to "neutral." Shares of the company dipped almost 3 percent.
Elsewhere, embattled South African retailer Steinhoff said Tuesday that it may have to restate its accounts "for years prior to 2015." Steinhoff's stock dipped significantly in 2017 due to an accounting scandal. Shares of the Frankfurt-listed firm surged to the top of the European benchmark Tuesday, up more than 9 percent.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average opened 100 points higher.