European stocks hold gains, focus on U.S. "fiscal cliff"; Dax up 0.40%

Shutterstock photo - European stocks remained higher on Tuesday, supported by hopes of progress in U.S. budget negociations, despite downbeat comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.27%, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.05%, while Germany's DAX 30 climbed 0.40%.

Sentiment found support amid hopes U.S. lawmakers will reach an agreement in time to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect on January 1 which investors' fears could derail the U.S. recovery and threaten global growth.

On Monday President Barack Obama made a counter-offer to Republicans that included a major change in position on tax hikes for the wealthy.

But investors remained cautious after ECB President Draghi said that the economic environment in the euro zone was challenging and was likely to remain so for some time to come.

Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as shares in French lender BNP Paribas inched up 0.05%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank climbed 0.98% and 2.90% respectively.

Peripheral lenders also posted sharp gains, with Italian banks Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo surging 2.24% and 1.25%, while Spain's BBVA and Banco Santanderrose 0.15% and 1.37%.

Meanwhile, Finnish cellphone company Nokia rallied 5.05%, extending earlier gains, as the company was expected to release an update for its Lumia 920 this month.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.34%, boosted by gains in mining stocks, while data showed that the annual rate of consumer price inflation in the U.K. held steady at 2.7% in November.

Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton saw shares jump 1.75% and 1.46%, while Vedanta Resources rallied 2.24%.

Financial stocks also remained broadly higher, as shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland climbed 1.06% and Lloyds Banking advanced 1.20%, while Barclays surged 1.30%. HSBC Holdings underperformed on the other hand, slipping 0.15%.

Elsewhere, Rolls-Royce Holdings rallied 1.11% after signing a contract with Skymark Airlines to supply aircraft engines.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.28% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.33% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.51% gain.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce government data on the current account. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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