Equity markets in Europe closed a tough higher on Tuesday afternoon, as investors monitored a number of geopolitical issues and looked ahead to a new earnings season.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 crept into positive territory during afternoon deals, paring earlier losses,and finishing provisionally 0.25 percent higher. Banking stocks led the losses, down more than 1% ahead of earnings announcements from large financial firms this week.
Oil and gas stocks surged by over 2.2% on the back of the news that the U.S. will end all waivers on sanctions against Iranian oil imports. This has driven oil prices higher with the commodity nearing 2019 highs on Tuesday. Higher oil prices also led to a sell-off in airline stocks across Europe on Tuesday. Air France-KLM was the worst example, slipping almost 6 percent.
Italian banking stocks also fell sharply after official figures revealed a worsening picture for the country's government debt.
Looking at individual stocks, Umicore dropped more than 17%. The Belgian materials tech and recycling company downgraded its revenue and earnings forecast for 2020.
Volkswagen's shares lost around 1.7% after it emerged that German prosecutors were investigating bonus payments made to an executive who was suspended over the automaker's emissions cheating scandal.
Elsewhere, French retailer Casino announced Tuesday that it is expanding its partnership with Amazon, allowing it to sell via the e-commerce platform. Shares of Casino were marginally lower.
Meanwhile, shares of Thomas Cook jumped almost 18% after Sky News reported that the firm has been approached for a possible takeover.
More broadly, there's a strong focus on corporate results as another earnings season begins. In Asia, sentiment remained weak following a South China Morning Post report that Beijing could refocus on structural reforms instead of offering stimulus measures after it claimed better-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter.
Back in Europe, investor sentiment was dented after data published by the European Commission on Tuesday showed consumer confidence in the euro zone fell in April.
In the United States, stocks opened brightly. The Dow rose 100 points after strong earnings from broad range of companies like Coca-Cola and Twitter.