The European markets finished Tuesday's session in positive territory, despite the news that North Korea conducted a third nuclear test. The markets received a boost from some better than expected earnings reports.
Investors were hesitant to take positions ahead of some important upcoming global events. U.S. President Barack Obama will give his much anticipated State of the Union address later today. Investors will be also watching for any developments from the G-20 meeting, which will be held on Friday.
Eurozone finance ministers on Monday maintained that Cyprus need to take strong measures to tackle money-laundering before receiving a bailout from its Eurozone partners. However, no rescue deal is likely to be in place before the presidential elections due this month.
"A private firm needs to get involved" to look into the money laundering allegations and a report will be obtained in March, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, new chief of the Eurogroup, said after the ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday.
Any deal will have to wait until the Cypriot presidential elections scheduled for February 17. Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch Finance Minister, indicated that a bailout deal between Cyprus and international creditors will be in place by next month.
Standard & Poor's lifted its outlook on Ireland's credit rating to stable from negative as it expects an improvement in government debt-servicing costs and refinancing risks on the back of a bank debt deal reached by the nation with the European Central Bank.
The rating agency affirmed the long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Ireland at 'BBB+/A-2'.
Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service today said the downside risks to the global economic recovery have diminished since the end of last year, but a slow pace of economic growth is still likely in many economies. The outlook for the euro zone is less optimistic, with the ratings agency expecting growth to stagnate during 2013.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased by 0.88 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.48 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed by 0.35 percent and the CAC 40 of France advanced by 0.99 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. rose by 0.85 percent and the SMI of Switzerland gained 0.26 percent.
In Frankfurt, ThyssenKrupp declined by 0.62 percent. The steel giant reported a 38 percent decline in net profit for its fiscal quarter through December.
Fraport AG, the owner and operator of Germany's Frankfurt Airport, rose by 0.13 percent after reporting a 4.9 percent drop in passenger traffic at the Frankfurt Airport for January.
In Paris, L'Oreal climbed by 3.80 percent. The beauty and cosmetic products giant reported a near 18 percent jump in net profit for fiscal year 2012 and said it expects to outperform the market in 2013.
Michelin dropped by 4.33 percent, after the tire maker issued a cautious outlook for 2013.
Danone declined by 1.08 percent, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to "Underweight" from "Equal weight."
In London, Barclays surged by 8.57 percent. The lender unveiled plans to cut at least 3,700 positions globally in 2013 under a restricting plan.
Rolls-Royce Holdings finished up by 0.26 percent, after bagging an $83.7 million contract for engines to power 19 V-22 aircraft operated by the US Marine Corps and Air Force.
BAE Systems fell by 1.93 percent, after JP Morgan initiated coverage on the stock with a "Neutral" rating.
France's current account shortfall increased more than economists expected in December, data released by the Bank of France showed Tuesday.
The current account deficit, on a seasonally and working-day adjusted basis, increased to EUR3.6 billion in December from EUR2.8 billion in November, which was revised from EUR2.9 billion. Economists were looking for a EUR3.5 billion shortfall for December.
A leading indicator of the British economy increased for the second successive month in December, though modestly, led mainly by positive contributions from consumer confidence and the yield spread, data from a survey by the Conference Board showed Tuesday. The leading index moved up 0.1 percent month-on-month to 103.5 in December, after rising 0.2 percent in November.
U.K. consumer price inflation continued to remain unchanged above the central bank target in January, while manufacturers' input cost inflation accelerated to the highest since March 2012, driven by crude oil prices.
Headline inflation has been at 2.7 percent since October, the Office for National Statistics reported Tuesday. This was the longest period for which consumer price growth has remained unchanged, the agency said. The rate continues to hover above the central bank's 2 percent target.
UK output price inflation eased to 2 percent in January from 2.2 percent in December, data released by the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday.
On a monthly basis, the output price index rose 0.2 percent. Both the figures matched economists' forecasts.
by RTT Staff Writer
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