UK Markets closed

Europe finishes on a positive note amid strong earnings; HSBC shares fall 3%

Sam Meredith

European equities posted solid gains by the close on Tuesday, as investors shook off volatility concerns and focused on better-than-expected corporate results.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.60 percent higher provisionally, with the majority of sectors closing in positive territory.

On the bourses front, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 finished trade roughly flat, down 0.01 percent, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX closed higher, up 0.64 percent and 0.83 percent respectively.

Earnings in focus

Chemicals was a top performing sector on Tuesday, closing up 1.17 percent boosted by Covestro , which closed up 3.33 percent. The German manufacturer said it had generated cash at a faster rate than previously thought in its quarterly earnings. Covestro now believes it will reach its cumulative operating cash flow target of 5 billion euros ($6.19 billion) in 3 years, rather than in 5 years.

SimCorp rose to the top of the STOXX 600, jumping over 12 percent by the close after reporting strong growth in its fourth quarter, and stating that its dividend payout for 2017 would be higher. France's Edenred rose 6.5 percent on the back of strong earnings that saw the company's earnings before interest and tax, and net profit for 2017, reach record levels.

Mining giant BHP Billiton posted a 25 percent rise in underlying half-year profit on Tuesday. The company also handed an extra $800 million to shareholders as it projected rising cash flows in the second half. However, its shares were off 4.58 percent by the close.

U.K. listed lender HSBC reported a jump in annual pre-tax profit but missed analysts expectations after U.S. tax changes prompted it to take a $1.3 billion write-down, causing shares to slip 3.1 percent.

Petro token

Stocks in Asia slipped Tuesday, while U.S. markets were mostly lower as concerns over higher interest rates lingered , and Walmart shares tumbled.

In politics, Brexit Minister David Davis said that the U.K. and European Union could reach an agreement on access to each others' markets, while shrugging off concerns that Britain would use Brexit to cut regulation to attract global businesses, Reuters reported.

Elsewhere, Venezuela is due to launch its so-called petro token on Tuesday. The controversial bitcoin-like digital currency is designed to help make the oil-dependent state make financial transactions and bypass Western sanctions.