Investing.com

Investing.com - European stocks pushed higher on Tuesday, as investors continued to eye a highly anticipated inflation report due on Wednesday, as well as the Federal Reserve''s upcoming policy statement.



During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 advanced 0.95%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.42%, while Germany’s DAX jumped 1.13%.



Official data earlier showed that Spains unemployment rate ticked up to 25.9% in the first quarter, from 25.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated rate of 26.0%.



Anlaysts had expected the unemployment rate to fall to 25.6% in the last quarter.



Separately, an uptick in the euro zone''s inflation rate would ease pressure on the European Central Bank to implement additional monetary policy measures.



Last month the annual rate of inflation in the euro zone slowed to 0.5%, the lowest since November 2009. The ECB targets an inflation rate of close to but just under 2%.The consensus forecast is for the euro zone inflation rate to rise to 0.8%.



Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PARIS) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PARIS) gained 0.13% and 2.01%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) surged 2.85%.



Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) and Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) climbed 0.87% and 1.05% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) and Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) rose 0.38% and 0.64%.



Elswhere, Italian oil company Eni Spa (EIPAF.PK) rallied 2.02% even after saying that first-quarter profit fell 14% due to weakening demand in its European businesses and declining refining margins.



Peugeot (PEUP.PARIS) continued to add to gains, with shares up 3.83%, after the French carmaker said it is offering stock to investors at 6.77 a share after selling stakes to Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor (DNFGF.PK) and the French state.



In London, FTSE 100 climbed 0.66%, after the Office of National Statistics reported that the U.K. economy grew 0.8% in the first quarter, bringing the annual rate of growth to 3.1%, the fastest rate of annual growth since the fourth quarter of 2007.



Shire (SHP.LONDON), up 3.35%, continued to lead gains on the index amid reports Allergan (NYSE:AGN) is preparing to approach the Dublin-based biopharmaceutical company again about a potential takeover after being rebuffed in recent months.



BP (BP.LONDON) also remained on the upside, advancing 0.84%, even as the oil and gas giant said profit fell due to lower output and a drop in earnings at refineries. Earnings were in line with analysts'' estimates however.



In the financial sector, stocks were mostly higher. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LONDON) srose 0.34% and Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LONDON) gained 0.74%, while HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LONDON) rallied 1.43%. Barclays (BARC.LONDON) still underperformed on the other hand, down 0.28%.



Meanwhile, Astrazeneca (AZN.LONDON) shares dropped 0.40%, after skyrocketing over 11% on Monday when Pfizer confirmed that it is interested in acquiring the U.K. drugmaker for about £58.8 billion. The acquisition would be one of the largest takeovers in the industry’s history.



Mining stocks also remained broadly lower, as Vedanta Resources (VED.LONDON) slid 0.83% and Antofagasta (ANTO.LONDON) declined 0.92%, while rivals Randgold Resources (RRS.LONDON) and Fresnillo (FRES.LONDON) lost 1.09% and 1.97% respectively.



In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.23% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.28% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.37% increase.



Later in the day, Germany was to release preliminary data on consumer price inflation, while the U.S. was to publish a report compiled by the Conference Board on consumer confidence.





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