BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - European stocks rose on Tuesday, with banks and energy stocks pacing gainers, as French political risks receded and oil prices edged up on speculation that OPEC members are likely to extend output cuts beyond June.
France's presidential election moved into high gear on Monday night as Centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen clashed in a televised debate ahead of a two-round election on April 23 and May 7.
Both clashed on issues about immigration, extremism and religion several times, with Macron accusing anti-euro candidate Le Pen of twisting the truth and 'dividing' society.
According to the poll for the BFMTV broadcaster, 29 percent of French believe Macron has been the most persuasive during the debate.
Investor sentiment received further boost after Chicago Federal Reserve president Charles Evans backed two more interest rate hikes this year, reinforcing recent comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that further rate increases would only be 'gradual.'
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.1 percent at 378.03 in late opening deals after declining 0.2 percent the previous day as the U.K. government announced it would begin the process of leaving the EU on March 29.
The German DAX was marginally higher and France's CAC 40 index was moving up 0.3 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent, hit by a firmer pound.
Deutsche Bank climbed almost 3 percent, a day after unveiling plans to boost capital. Rival banks Commerzbank, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole gained 1-2 percent.
Energy majors Total SA and Tullow Oil climbed 1-3 percent.
German automaker BMW rallied 2 percent after saying it is targeting record sales, revenue and earnings this year.
SGL Carbon advanced 3.5 percent after the carbon products maker narrowed its fiscal 2016 net loss to 34 million euros from 67.5 million euros last year.
Partners Group shares jumped more than 4 percent after the asset management firm reported strong 2016 financial results and proposed an increased dividend.
Akzo Nobel climbed 3.5 percent on a Bloomberg report that PPG Industries Inc. is preparing another bid for the Dutch paints and chemicals company.
On the flip side, Swedish biometric firm Fingerprint Cards plunged 26 percent after the company scrapped its dividend and warned its revenue will likely fall over 50 percent in the first quarter.
In economic releases, British consumer inflation jumped an annual 2.3 percent last month, breaching the Bank of England's 2 percent target for the first time since the end of 2013, official data showed. That was up sharply from 1.8 percent in January.
Factory gate prices rose 3.7 percent from a year earlier, posting the strongest increase since the end of 2011.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX