RTTNews - The European markets declined on Tuesday, as weakness in banking stocks outpaced gains among automakers.

The National Association of Realtors in the U.S. said in its report that the pending home sales index rose 6.7% to 90.3 in April from a reading of 84.6 in March. Economists had been expecting a much more modest increase by the index of about 0.5%.

Eurostat said the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Eurozone rose to 9.2% in April from 8.9% recorded in March. This is the highest rate since September 1999 and a touch higher than the 9.1% expected. The number of unemployed persons increased by 396,000 to 14.58 million in April from 14.18 million in March.

Crude for July delivery fell $0.46 to $68.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, as traders locked in profits from seven straight sessions of price jumps.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.04% lower at 885.88 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.47% to 2,175.86 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.65% to 4,477.02 and France's CAC 40 index fell 0.04% to 3,378.04, while Germany's DAX index rose 0.03% to 5,144.06.

Barclays tumbled 13.5% after the company's Abu Dhabi investors sold more than 1.3 billion shares at 265 pence each in Britain's third largest bank that it bought last year.

Other banks also fell. HSBC, Europe's largest bank, slid 3.1%, while Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second largest bank, dropped 5.2% and Lloyds Banking Group, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, dipped 4.1%.

On the other hand, Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, climbed 10.2% after Porsche, which holds a majority stake in Volkswagen, said its aim to integrate with the company is the best industrial solution for all sides. Porsche shares rose 2.7%.

BMW, the world's biggest maker of luxury cars, gained 2.1% and Fiat, Italy's biggest automaker, surged up 1.3%.

Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home-improvement retailer, climbed 3.8% after the company reported first quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.

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