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European stocks close higher after choppy trade

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 eked higher by just more than a tenth of one percent on Tuesday.
  • BP shares rose after the British oil giant reported profits more than doubled in the three months through to Sept 30.
  • Apple announced a new iPad and MacBook Air at an event in the United States.

European stocks swung wildly Tuesday afternoon, as investors monitored a flurry of earnings results amid heightened global trade tensions.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

By the provisional close the pan-European Stoxx 600 had ended higher on Tuesday by 0.13 percent, with sectors pointing in opposite directions.

Germany's biggest carrier Lufthansa led the losses in the Travel & leisure basket after the airline missed third-quarter profit estimates. Shares of the airline tumbled 7.88 percent on the news.

Having a better day was BP. The firm's stock rose towards the top of the European benchmark after the British oil giant reported profits more than doubled in the three months through to Sept 30. Shares of the London-listed stock ended higher by 2.02 percent.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas was struggling after it announced third-quarter revenue came in below expectations. Shares of the French bank closed 2.8 percent lower on Tuesday.

Apple unveiled its latest iPad Pro models and Mac computers at an event in Brooklyn on Tuesday, offering long-awaited updates to some of its most popular devices.

The new iPad Pros eliminate the home button and incorporate Apple's facial recognition technology, Face ID, that was first introduced with the company's iPhone X product line last year.

Trade war

Apart from corporate news, market focus is largely attuned to the U.S.-China trade war, after a Bloomberg report on Monday suggested the U.S. could be preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping breakdown next month.

The White House has raised the possibility of such a move previously, but this is the first time a timeline has been reported.

Stocks in the U.S. had moved higher after two hours of trade.

In terms of data, the euro zone reported growth had slowed much quicker than anticipated in the third quarter. Economic confidence also slipped in the three months through to Sept 30., amid intensifying concern over Italy's budget crisis.

The European statistics office, Eurostat, said Tuesday economic growth in the bloc slowed to 0.2 percent in the third quarter, after a 0.4 percent expansion in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, year-on-year euro zone growth slowed to 1.7 percent from 2.2 percent in the second quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had projected a 0.4 percent quarterly expansion and a 1.8 percent year-on-year rise.

Elsewhere, investors also followed developments in Germany, after Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she would not seek another term as leader of the CDU.