European shares close higher as investors shift focus to earnings

  • European markets closed higher on Tuesday afternoon as investors looked ahead to the latest corporate earnings season.
  • Oil and gas stocks led the gains, boosted by commodity prices ticking higher.
  • British online supermarket Ocado topped the Stoxx 600, rallying to close 9 percent higher despite reporting first half earnings dented by rising investment costs.

Markets in Europe were closed higher on Tuesday as investors focused on upcoming corporate earnings, putting aside political and trade tensions.

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index closed half a percent higher during mid-afternoon trade, with all major bourses in positive territory.

Oil and gas stocks led the gains, boosted by commodity prices ticking higher. The sector closed 1.4 percent above the flat line. The industrials and technology sectors also both ended trade above 1 percent.

Ratings upgrades helped European shares, with Airbus, Atos and Hugo Boss all rising higher after positive research notes from investment banks.

Meanwhile, Ocado's stock rebounded from earlier losses after its first-half earnings were dented by rising investment costs. The British online supermarket rose during afternoon trade to close 9 percent higher by the end of the day.

At the other end of the spectrum, brokerage firm TP ICAP closed 36 percent lower after firing its chief executive, John Phizackerley. The company foundered at the bottom of the European benchmark.

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Generally, traders were positive ahead of the next earnings season following a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday.

Dow rises as earnings season begins

In the U.S., stocks opened higher on Tuesday as the latest corporate earnings season got under way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 150 points, as DowDuPont and Boeing outperformed. The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent, with energy rising 1.3 percent. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.1 percent. The Russell 2000, which is made up of small-cap stocks, rose 0.2 percent and reached an all-time high.