European stock markets were higher on Tuesday, as investors carried over Monday’s optimism following dovish comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke despite disappointing German consumer climate data.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 advanced 0.89%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.81%, while Germany’s DAX 30 climbed 0.92%.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that further monetary accommodation is needed to bring about big gains in the U.S. jobs market, which he described as “far from normal,” despite a recent improvement.
The comments overshadowed a report by German research institute, Ifo showing earlier that its consumer climate index for Germany fell unexpectedly in March, ticking down to 5.9 from 6.0 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 6.2 in March.
Financial stocks were sharply higher, led by Dutch lender ING Group, up 2.08%. French banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale also added 1.86% and 1.51% respectively, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank climbed 1.09% and 1.28%.
Elsewhere, Lufthansa and Linde, the world’s second-biggest supplier of industrial gases, rose 3.84% and 0.22% respectively after JPMorgan raised its recommendation on both companies to overweight from neutral.
On the downside, Air France-KLM Group tumbled 2.61% after auditors signaled that the airline’s Air France unit needs to refinance by the end of 2013, according to French daily La Tribune.
In London, FTSE 100 added 0.45%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts sharply higher.
The Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the top gainers, with shares surging 6.05%, following a report that the U.K. government held talks to sell as much as a third of its stake in the lender to Abu Dhabi.
Barclays climbed 2.73%, while Lloyds Banking and HSBC Holdings jumped 2.53% and 1.39%.