BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - The European markets finished broadly higher Tuesday, rebounding from a weak performance at the start of the trading week. The gains on Wall Street Monday helped to fuel early gains across the pond, as concerns over the situation in Syria continue to relax. The positive open on Wall Street today helped to fuel further gains in Europe in the afternoon.
The focus of investors has begun to shift away from geopolitical concerns and the potential trade war between the U.S. and China, and toward corporate earnings. The U.S. earnings season has gotten off to a solid start, with better than expected reports from a number of banks as well as companies like Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.88 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased 1.07 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.63 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed 1.57 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 0.76 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.39 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 1.07 percent.
In Frankfurt, Bayer gained 2.65 percent after Singapore's state investment company Temasek agreed to buy a 3.6 percent stake in the German drug-maker for 3 billion euros.
In Paris, Lagardere advanced 1.21 percent. The media group said it was selling some eastern European radio assets to Czech Media Invest.
Retailer Casino Group rose 1.26 percent after its first-quarter sales increased 3.1 percent in organic terms and 1.8 percent on a comparable basis.
In London, Associated British Foods jumped 4.14 percent as it posted three percent growth in revenue in the 24 weeks to 3 March despite a challenging retail environment.
Ashmore Group climbed 3.84 percent. The emerging markets-focused asset manager has reported a 10 percent growth in its third-quarter assets under management.
JD Sports Fashion rallied 5.21 percent after its preliminary profit before tax for the 53 weeks ended 3 February 2018 increased by 24 percent.
Intrum Justitia soared 7.98 percent in Stockholm after it filed a binding bid for Intesa Sanpaolo's debt collection unit.
German economic confidence declined sharply in April, survey data from the Mannheim-based think tank ZEW showed Tuesday. The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment dropped to -8.2 in April from +5.1 in March. The score was forecast to fall to -1.
The UK unemployment rate declined to a fresh low in three months to February and earnings of employees increased at the fastest pace in nearly three years, signaling easing squeeze on consumer spending.
The ILO jobless rate came in at 4.2 percent in the three months to February, which was below the 4.3 percent logged in the three months to January, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. This was the lowest rate since comparable data began in 1971.
China's economy expanded at a steady pace in the first quarter of 2018, helped by consumer spending amid moderation in industrial output and fixed asset investment growth.
Gross domestic product expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year, the same pace of growth as seen in the fourth quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday. The rate also matched economists' expectations.
After reporting a sharp pullback in new residential construction in the U.S. in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing housing starts rebounded in the month of March.
The report said housing starts jumped by 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.319 million in March after tumbling by 3.3 percent to a revised 1.295 million in February. Economists had expected housing starts to increase by 2.1 percent to a rate of 1.262 million from the 1.236 million originally reported for the previous month.
The Commerce Department also said building permits surged up by 2.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.354 million in March after slumping by 4.1 percent to a revised 1.321 million in February. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to climb by 1.9 percent to a rate of 1.323 million from the 1.298 million originally reported for the previous month.
Partly reflecting a substantial rebound in utilities output, the Federal Reserve released a report on Tuesday showing a slightly bigger than expected increase in U.S. industrial production in the month of March.
The report said industrial production climbed by 0.5 percent in March after surging up by a revised 1.0 percent in February. Economists had expected production to increase by 0.4 percent compared to the 1.1 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.
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