Eurozone stock markets push higher, as London steadies

Equities were once again on the march higher in Europe on Tuesday

Eurozone stock markets pushed higher Tuesday on the coattails of Asia, while London gains were capped by share price falls across the heavyweight energy and mining sectors.

London's FTSE 100 was still close to hitting a new all-time high however, as sterling dropped on official data showing that UK annual inflation pulled back in December from a near six-year peak.

The euro meanwhile came off a three-year high versus the dollar struck on Monday, while oil futures retreated also from their highest levels since 2015 that were reached at the start of the week.

The euro is "finally seeing some weakness after its remarkable bounce of late", said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG trading group.

He noted also that "sterling's impressive rally over the past nine months has helped cool imported inflation" into the UK, in turn lessening the prospect of further rate tightening from the Bank of England.

"Perhaps they won't have to raise rates this year after all, although one reading does not constitute a trend," added Beauchamp after UK annual inflation dipped to 3.0 percent from 3.1 percent.

The European single currency on Monday almost broke $1.23 for the first time since December 2014 on strong economic data and after a key member of the European Central Bank hinted that it could start cutting back its bond-buying stimulus by September.

In company share price movement on Tuesday, BP shed 2.0 percent to 521.9 pence after the British energy giant said it will take an additional charge of $1.7 billion (1.4 billion euros) for last year linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in 2010.

Heavyweight miners were also lower, with Rio Tinto down 2.0 percent and BHP Billiton dropping 2.5 percent.

Stock markets mostly rose in Asia on Tuesday, with Hong Kong clocking its highest-ever close.

While there were few leads from Wall Street owing to a public holiday in the US on Monday, investors continued to push into equity markets in Asia and maintaining a healthy start to 2018.

Tokyo's main stocks index climbed one percent to a more than 26-year high and Shanghai added 0.8 percent.

- Key figures around 1130 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,767.58 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.0 percent at 13,343

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,529.04

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,635.56

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 23,951.81 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.8 percent at 31,904.75

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,436.59 (close)

New York - DOW: Closed Monday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2216 from $1.2265 at 1635 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3758 from $1.3806

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.68 yen from 110.56 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 91 cents at $69.35 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 40 cents at $63.90

burs-bcp/rl