(RTTNews.com) - The European markets ended Tuesday's session in positive territory, following the mixed results of the previous session. Investor sentiment received a boost from the dip in Eurozone inflation and the decline in German unemployment. Banks were among the best performing stocks of the session. Ireland made its return to the bond market on Tuesday, following its recent exit from its bailout program.
Janet Yellen, the current vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, will be the first woman to lead the central bank. The Senate confirmed Yellen by a 56-26 vote Monday evening, with support from all 45 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Investors will also be watching for the release of the minutes from the most recent Fed meeting after the close on Wednesday.
The U.K. economy is growing at a solid pace and could even strengthen in the short term, according to the Quarterly Economic Survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce.
Based on the responses from nearly 8,000 firms in both manufacturing and services, the BCC on Tuesday said most key balances for the fourth quarter of 2013 are higher than their pre-recession levels in 2007.
The lobby forecasts economic growth in the fourth quarter to be 0.9 percent. The survey was carried out between November 11 and December 2.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased by 1.32 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.89 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed by 0.83 percent and the CAC 40 of France advanced by 0.83 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. rose by 0.37 percent and the SMI of Switzerland added 0.57 percent.
In Frankfurt, Commerzbank gained 5.98 percent and Deutsche Bank added 3.03 percent.
BASF climbed by 2.75 percent, after UBS upgraded the stock to ''Buy'' from ''Neutral.''
Hugo Boss dropped by 2.30 percent, after Societe Generale downgraded the stock to ''Hold'' from ''Buy.''
Software AG declined by 1.45 percent and Dialog Semiconductor lost 4.01 percent after negative broker recommendations.
In Paris, Credit Agricole increased by 6.08 percent. BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 2.87 percent and 4.03 percent, respectively.
Air Liquide fell by 1.56 percent. UBS downgraded the stock to ''Sell'' from ''Neutral.''
In London, lenders Lloyds Banking and HSBC Holdings advanced by 3.00 percent and 2.39 percent, respectively. Royal Bank of Scotland climbed by 1.77 percent and Barclays added 1.24 percent.
Reed Elsevier said Nick Luff, currently finance chief of consumer energy group Centrica Plc., has been appointed as chief financial officer. Reed Elsevier finished down by 0.28 percent, while Centrica dipped by 1.49 percent.
Severn Trent fell by 2.17 percent, after JP Morgan downgraded it to "Underweight" from "Neutral."
Debenhams dipped by 0.52 percent, after HSBC downgraded it to "Neutral" from "Overweight." Next also declined by 0.65 percent, despite an HSBC upgraded to "Overweight" from "Neutral."
A.P. Moeller-Maersk has agreed to trim its majority stake in Dansk Supermarked Group from 68 percent to 19 percent, generating cash proceeds of about $3.10 billion. The stock increased by 3.48 percent in Copenhagen.
Vestas Wind Systems raised its cash flow expectation for 2013. The stock surged by 6.07 percent.
Swedish Match dropped by 5.48 percent in Stockholm, after Citigroup downgraded it to "Sell" from "Neutral."
Eurozone inflation slowed unexpectedly at the end of the year and producer prices remained in negative territory for the fourth consecutive month, adding pressure on the central bank to act decisively to stem deflationary risks and support growth.
The flash estimates from Eurostat on Tuesday showed that inflation slowed to 0.8 percent in December, while it was forecast to remain unchanged at 0.9 percent.
Industrial producer prices in the Euro Area decreased for the fourth consecutive month in November, but at a slower pace than in October, data released by statistical office Eurostat showed Tuesday.
The producer price index for the domestic market dropped 1.2 percent annually in November, which was slightly slower than the October's 1.3 percent fall. Economists had forecast a 1.3 percent decrease for November.
Germany's retail sales expanded by seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent month-on-month in November, after falling for two straight months, provisional data from Destatis revealed Tuesday. Real retail sales turnover dropped 0.8 percent in October and 0.1 percent in September.
German unemployment dropped unexpectedly in December, marking the first fall in five months, as firms sought to increase staff levels buoyed by the continued recovery of the Eurozone economy and improving domestic demand conditions.
The number of unemployed persons fell by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 in December to 2.965 million, the latest data published by the Federal Labor Agency revealed Tuesday, while expectations were for no change.
Unemployment rate in Germany remained unchanged in November, the latest data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed Tuesday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 5.2 percent in November, the same as in October. A year earlier, the rate was 5.4 percent.
Germany's construction sector expanded at the sharpest pace in four months in December, survey data released by Markit Economics revealed Tuesday. The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the construction sector advanced to 53.7 in December from 52.1 in November, indicating the best performance by the sector since August.
Consumer confidence in France improved unexpectedly in December, after dropping in the previous month, data from a recent survey revealed. The consumer confidence index moved up to 85 in December from 84 in November, statistical office Insee said. Economists had forecast the index to stay unchanged at the November level. In October, the reading was 85.
U.K. car registrations in 2013 hit the highest since 2007 with sales rising for the 22nd consecutive month in December, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Tuesday. Sales increased by 10.8 percent to 2.26 million units in 2013. It exceeded SMMT's 2.25 million forecast. On average, an additional 600 extra cars registered per day in 2013 than in the previous year.
With the value of exports rising and the value of imports falling, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by much more than anticipated in the month of November.
The report showed that the trade deficit narrowed to $34.3 billion in November from a revised $39.3 billion in October. Economists had expected the trade deficit to shrink to $39.9 billion from the $40.6 billion originally reported for the previous month.
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