- European stocks pushed sharply higher on Tuesday, as concerns over tensions between Russia and Ukraine slightly continued to subside and as the release of Spanish employment data also supported European equities.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rallied 2.36%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 2.46%, while Germany’s DAX 30 surged 2.31%.

Market sentiment improved after a report that President Putin had ordered troops engaged in military exercises close to Ukraine’s borders back to base after the exercises concluded.

But investors remained cautious after President Barack Obama said the U.S. was considering economic sanctions to "isolate Russia" following its military incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region over the weekend.

In Spain, official data showed that the number of unemployed people declined by 1,900 in February, compared to expectations for a 74,200 rise, after a 113,100 rise the previous month.

Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale rallied 1.48% and 1.14%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank climbed 0.62%.

Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit jumped 0.97% and 1.25% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA advanced 0.56% and 0.68%.

Elsewhere, RWE AG slid 0.34%, erasing earlier gains after reporting its first annual loss since 1949, as a drop in electricity prices forced billions of euros in writedowns. The German utility also reaffirmed its forecast for net income in 2014.

In London, FTSE 100 jumped 1.58%, as U.K. lenders continued to track their European counterparts higher, although data showed the rate of expansion in the U.K. construction sector slowed in February.

Shares in Lloyds Banking added 0.18% and HSBC Holdings climbed 0.82%, while Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland rallied 1.01% and 1.38% respectively.

Adding to gains, Ashtead Group Plc soared 8.48% after saying full-year profit will exceed the company’s previous projections.

Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed, as Vedanta Resources rose 0.36% and Glencore Xstrata surged 2.57%, while Randgold Resources tumbled 0.95% and Fresnillo dove 8.25%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.75% climb, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.71% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.81% gain.

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