- European stocks were higher on Tuesday, as global equities found support after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank intends to keep interest rates low for an extended period, while investors eyed upcoming euro zone employment data.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 added 0.16%, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.46%, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.29%.

Equitiy markets found support after Fed Chair Yellen said that "considerable slack" still remained in the labor market and reiterated that the Fed’s commitment to economic stimulus will still be needed for some time.

Elsewhere, data showed that China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for March rose to 50.3 from 50.2 in February. However, a separate report showed that China’s HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to 48, the weakest level in a year-and-a-half, from a final reading of 48.5 in February.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) rallied 1.30% and 1.60%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) and Commerzbank (CBKG.XETRA) rose 0.14% and 1.04%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) gained 0.87% and 1.18% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) and BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) advanced 0.37% and 0.47%.

Elsewhere, Metso Oyj (MEO1V.HEL) soared 13.78% following reports Weir Group (WEIR.LSE) may be willing to pay as much as €30 a share for the Finnish supplier of technology, automation and services.

Alstom (ALSO.PAR) also added to gains, up 4.21%, after the French maker of trains and power-generation equipment agreed to sell an auxiliary components unit to Triton for about €730 million.

In London, FTSE 100 added 0.31%, led by Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.LSE), whose shares surged 3.16%, after completing the acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Group and its related private equity fund management business.

Mining stocks were also on the upside, as Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) climbed 0.73% and Vedanta Resources (VED.LSE) gained 0.84%, while rivals Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) jumped 1.24% and 2.37% respectively.

Earlier in the day, BHP Billiton said it is looking to simplify its operations to focus on iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum.

Among U.K. lenders, Barclays (BARC.LSE) advanced 0.61% and Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) climbed 0.65%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) jumped 0.90%. HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) continued to underperform for the second consecutive day however, with shares dipping 0.04%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.13% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.12% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.01% uptick.

Also Tuesday, Markit research group said Spain''s manufacturing PMI ticked up to 52.8 in March from a reading of 52.5 the previous month, confounding expectations for a decline to 52.4.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to release data on the unemployment rate and Germany was release data on the change in the number of people unemployed. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to publish a report on U.S. manufacturing growth.

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