Europe stocks close higher as retail rallies; Ocado and Travis Perkins up 12%

  • Travis Perkins rose towards the top of the index, up by 12.5 percent, seeing its best trading day in nearly 10 years, according to Reuters.
  • The U.K.'s biggest supplier of building materials reported a higher-than-expected pretax profit, supported by its cost-cutting plan.
  • Meanwhile, Standard Chartered fell 0.6 percent, after the bank posted a lower-than-expected net income margin.
  • Also, shares of British Airways owner IAG slipped over 3 percent after index provider MSCI decided to exclude it from Spain's main benchmark.

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday as investors digested strong data from the U.S. and reacted to political developments in the U.K.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session 0.5 percent higher, with most sectors in positive territory, after spending much of the day in the red.

Sentiment was helped by events in the U.S. Wall Street pared earlier losses as better-than-expected consumer confidence numbers offset weak Home Depot earnings and a big drop in housing starts.

In Europe, retail was the best performer, up 2 percent. Reports revealed that British high street chain Marks & Spencer was in talks with Ocado to create a full online food delivery service. Shares of Marks & Spencer were up 3.2 percent during afternoon trade, while Ocado shares gained almost 12 percent and soared towards the top of the index.

Travis Perkins rose to the top of the index, up by 12.5 percent, seeing its best trading day in nearly 10 years, according to Reuters. The U.K.'s biggest supplier of building materials reported a higher-than-expected pretax profit, supported by its cost-cutting plan.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered fell 0.6 percent, after the bank posted a lower-than-expected net income margin. Also, shares of British Airways owner IAG slipped over 3 percent after index provider MSCI decided to exclude it from Spain's main benchmark.

Elsewhere, Brexit remains at the front and center of European politics. On Monday, the British opposition Labour party indicated that it would back calls for a "People's vote" on the U.K.'s impending departure from the European Union, if Parliament vetoed the party's alternate Brexit proposal.

Speaking in Parliament Tuesday, May confirmed that lawmakers will be able to vote on her deal a second time by March 12. If that fails, Parliament will vote on ruling out a no-deal by March 13; and then a possible vote to extend Article 50 by March 14. Sterling rose more than 0.6 percent against the dollar as the possibility of a no-deal Brexit was reduced slightly.