European stocks close in the red amid earnings, Powell testimony; Sky surges 20.5%

Key Points
  • The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the session down 0.18 percent provisionally, following a choppy session. Major European sectors closed mixed.
  • On the corporate front, Fresnillo, Standard Chartered and Persimmon were among the major companies to release their latest figures Tuesday.
  • Sky shares jumped over 20 percent on proposed bid from Comcast.

European equities finished Tuesday in the red, as investors waded through the latest corporate news, while keeping an eye on a testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the session down 0.18 percent provisionally, following a choppy session. Major European sectors pointed in different directions by the close.

On the bourses front, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed down 0.10 percent, while the French CAC 40 dipped 0.01 percent and Germany's DAX slipped 0.29 percent.

Media outperforms, as Comcast challenges Murdoch's Sky bid

Media stocks outperformed fellow sectors Tuesday, following news that U.S. media giant Comcast was making a proposed cash offer to buy Sky for 22.1 billion pounds ($31 billion). Sky shares jumped on the news and hit the top of the European benchmark, finishing up 20.5 percent.

Chemicals on the other hand were among the worst performers on earnings results. Germany's BASF slipped over 2 percent after publishing its latest results. The household goods sector also underperformed, closing down 1.25 percent.

We're all interested in shaping monetary policy, says Bundesbank's Weidmann

Looking at individual stocks, Standard Chartered rose 1.2 percent after it announced it would resume dividend payments. Poste Italiane jumped almost 6 percent after announcing that it was launching a five-year strategic plan that included a group-wide transformation initiative looking at the company's employees and technology systems.

U.K. house builder Persimmon popped 4.66 percent after reporting a 2 percent increase in 2017 pretax profits. The company said it sold more houses and at higher prices. The earnings release provided a lift to other London-listed property stocks, including Berkeley Group and Taylor Wimpey.

Fresnillo slipped 4.4 percent after the company's annual profit fell short of market expectations. The precious metals group also stated that it expected 2018 to be "a challenging year," with comment on costs and inflationary pressures.

Powell: Market volatility won't stop more hikes

Indexes in the Asia-Pacific region finished the session relatively mixed. In the States, U.S. stocks came under slight pressure around Europe's market close, as investors turned their attention to a testimony from Jerome Powell, the new chair of the Federal Reserve.

In prepared remarks, Powell indicated that the central bank would continue to gradually raise rates despite recent market volatility. During the testimony, Powell detailed the central bank's outlook for economic growth and monetary policy in the future. Investors were also on edge as U.S. government debt yields rose following Powell's rate hike comments.

In terms of data, the euro area reported a decrease in consumer sentiment in February from the previous month. At the same time, data from the European Commission also showed lower inflation expectations in February from January.

—CNBC's Ylan Mui contributed to this article.