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European stocks close higher after virus driven sell-off

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Key Points
  • As of Tuesday morning, Chinese health authorities have confirmed that 106 people have died with 4,515 now infected, with cases reported in multiple countries around the world.

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday as investors monitored developments relating to the Chinese coronavirus, after global markets plummeted on Monday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was provisionally 0.8% higher at the closing bell, with most sectors and all major bourses in positive territory. Telecoms stocks added around 1.6% to lead gains while tech stocks dipped below the flatline.

The snap back came after the Stoxx 600 dropped 2.3% on Monday, with around 180 billion euros of market value wiped out, but sentiment remains tied to news out of China.

As of Tuesday morning, Chinese health authorities have confirmed that 106 people have died with 4,515 now infected, with cases reported in multiple countries around the world.

Stocks on Wall Street were also trading higher on Tuesday, following Wall Street's biggest sell-off since October in the previous session.

Back in Europe, Brexit is back in focus with the U.K. set to leave the European Union on Friday, beginning a transitional period in which both sides work toward the ambitious target of agreeing a new free trade agreement this year.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned the U.K. on Monday that the bloc will "never, never, never" compromise on the single market, accusing Britain of underestimating the cost of leaving.

Meanwhile, the U.K. granted Chinese telecoms giant limited access to its 5G network on Tuesday, defying pressure from the U.S. to shut the company out over alleged national security concerns.

In corporate news, Renault's board is set to meet Tuesday to approve the appointment for former Seat boss Luca de Meo as its next CEO, according to Le Figaro newspaper.

Stocks on the move

Earnings are in focus, with Europe's most valuable technology company SAP on Tuesday raising its revenue and profit outlook and reporting an increase in fourth-quarter net profit. Market reaction was muted, however, with SAP shares slipping 2%.

Shares of antivirus developer Avast lost 9% by the end of the session, sending the company to the bottom of the European benchmark following reports that the company had sold user data.

At the top of the European benchmark, Swedbank climbed 8% after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits before the bell, while French corporate services provider Edenred added 3.5% after brokerage ODDO upgraded the stock to "buy," according to Reuters.