LONDON, March 26 European shares edged higher on Tuesday as the market focused on data showing continued gradual improvement in the U.S. economy, with the implications of a Cyprus bailout remaining unclear.
The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 0.2 percent at 1,188.89, after a see-saw session which saw investors unsettled by concern that a rescue plan for Cyprus might turn out to be a template for other euro zone economies requiring bailouts.
Brightening the mood, data showed demand for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in February, suggesting factory activity continued to expand at a moderate pace, even though a gauge of planned business spending slipped.
"Markets are struggling to find direction due to the confusing position taken by authorities in relation to Cyprus although they're continuing to react to positive data from the United States," Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays, said.
"The corporate fundamentals remain very supportive indeed. Any signs of weakness should be used to gain exposure to an asset class that we think will continue to outperform in the medium to long term."