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European stocks surged to a nine-week high on Tuesday, as market participants monitored a flurry of corporate earnings results.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 1.3 percent higher, with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory. The index hit its highest level since Dec. 3.
Britain's FTSE 100 outperformed most of its peers, rising 2 percent as sterling hit a 2-week low against the dollar. The currency's steep dive came as the U.S. currency strengthened and Brexit fears edged back into investor consciousness.
European construction and material stocks led the gains, up over 2 percent amid earnings news. Shares of Assa Abloy jumped 7 percent — among the best performers in the Stoxx 600 — after the Swedish lock manufacturer reported stronger-than-expected sales growth and a rise in fourth-quarter profit.
Europe's oil and gas sector was also among the best performers, up 1.7 percent on the back of strong results from BP. The British oil major said 2018 profit jumped more than 65 percent when compared to the same period in 2017, following a sharp rise in oil and gas production and the acquisition of BHP's U.S. shale assets. Shares rose over 5 percent on the news.
Looking at individual stocks, Denmark's Pandora surged to the top of the European benchmark. It comes after the embattled jewelry maker reported better-than-forecast earnings for the final three months of 2018. Shares of the Copenhagen-listed stock advanced nearly 18 percent on the news.
Meanwhile, Apple supplier AMS tumbled to the bottom of the index. The Austrian group said Tuesday it expects revenue to fall over the coming weeks amid continued weak smartphone demand. Shares of the company fell almost 7 percent.
On the data front, euro zone retail sales fell as expected in December. Official data published Tuesday showed non-food sales and online purchases dragged retail sales down to 1.6 percent month-on-month at the end of 2018, largely in line with an average forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.
On Wall Street, stocks jumped at the open, with market players focusing their attention on earnings and President Donald Trump's upcoming State of the Union address.
Trading was subdued in Asia Tuesday, with many of the continent's financial markets closed for the Lunar New Year. China's financial markets are closed all week, while South Korea's index is set to reopen on Thursday.