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European stocks close lower after US 10-year yield hits 3 percent for first time since 2014

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally close to the flatline, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
  • Germany's business confidence slipped for the fifth consecutive month in April, according to data published Tuesday by the country's Ifo Institute.
  • The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield hit 3 percent, its highest level since January 2014.

European stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, as investors monitored bond yields and the latest deluge of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally close to the flatline, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

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FTSE
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IBEX 35
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Travel and leisure stocks were the worst performers, down 1.4 percent. The sector was dragged lower by William Hill, after the U.K. Treasury said it planned to support a proposed cut in the maximum bet for fixed odds betting terminals. Shares of the U.K. firm tanked 12.7 percent on the news.

Meanwhile, oil and gas stocks led the gains Tuesday, up 1 percent, after Barclays published a list of its preferred European oil and refining stocks. BP, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and OMV were all named as favorable stocks by the U.K. bank — sending shares of each company higher.

Looking at individual stocks, Germany's SAP announced upbeat figures despite a seasonally tough first three months of the year. Europe's largest tech company by stock market valuation said Tuesday it was gaining ground on its competitors in the cloud. Shares of the company were up 3.5 percent.

Randstad slumped towards the bottom of the European benchmark, as the world's second-largest staffing company posted its latest figures. The Dutch employment agency said core earnings rose 4 percent in the first quarter of 2018, supported by robust growth across Europe. Nonetheless, its Monster subsidiary in the U.S. continued to underperform. Shares of Randstad were off almost 2.8 percent.

10-year yield hits 3 percent

On the data front, Germany's business confidence slipped for the fifth consecutive month in April, according to data published Tuesday by the country's Ifo institute. The indicator of German business morale slipped to 102.1 points in April, down from 103.3 points in March.

Stocks opened higher on Wall Street after some of the largest firms in the U.S. reported strong quarterly earnings.

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note, the world's most important bond market indicator, hit 3 percent for the first time since January 2014. Investors have been selling Treasurys in April — consequently pushing yields up — amid beliefs of rising inflation, which may encourage the U.S. central bank to tighten monetary policy more rapidly.

Another market topic keeping investors busy is the oil market. Brent crude topped $75 a barrel on Tuesday, amid fears of U.S. sanctions on Iran. But both benchmarks were seen retreating slightly at 4:50 p.m. London time, with Brent trading at $74.60 and U.S. crude trading $68.40.

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Elsewhere, investors will be paying attention to any news out of the political space as French President Emmanuel Macron continues his state visit to the U.S., where he is currently meeting President Donald Trump.

While security, trade and economic growth are expected to remain at the forefront of discussions, another topic that hangs in the balance is that of the Iran nuclear deal. Over the weekend, Macron said that there was no "Plan B" for keeping a lid on the country's nuclear objectives; Reuters reported.