European Markets Struggle for Direction

European stock markets struggled for direction on Tuesday, as companies such as Vodafone and Marks & Spencer declined after full-year earnings, while Credit Suisse advanced after reaching a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1% to 338.69, but swung between small gains and losses. Read: Euroskeptics and extremists to dominate in Europe's week ahead

Helping lift the index, shares of Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) advanced 1% after the bank reached a settlement with U.S. authorities and admitted to aiding tax evasion. Analysts commented that the more-than-$2 billion fine looked manageable and that the settlement removes an uncertainty that has been pushing the stock lower recently.

Other banks were also in the spotlight. Shares of Credit Agricole SA dropped 0.6% and HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC) gave up 0.8%, while J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was unchanged in U.S. premarket trade after the European Commission formally charged the three banks with antitrust violations on suspicion they colluded to rig European interest rates.

Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) declined 3.8% after the U.K. telecom giant said full-year adjusted operating profit fell 37% and revenue slipped 1.9%.

Marks & Spencer Group PLC dropped 3.3% after the U.K. retailer said pretax profit fell for the full year.

The stock losses for Vodafone and M&S weighed on the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index , which underperformed the most of Europe. The benchmark fell 0.4% to 6,818.54.

BP PLC (BP) also declined in London, down 0.9% after an appeals court in New Orleans rejected the oil major's request for a review of the settlement case for victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster.

U.K. inflation

In data news in the U.K., the Office for National Statistics said consumer prices grew by 1.8% in April year-over-year, up from inflation of 1.6% in March. Analysts said the rise was largely due to the timing of Easter, when travel fares rise more than usual.

In its May Inflation Report published last week, the Bank of England said it expects the inflation rate to stand around 1.8% in April, May and June, so the latest figures shouldn't change much from a policy perspective, Victoria Clarke, economist at Investec, said in a note.

"We would expect the dovish slant to policy presented alongside the 14 May Inflation Report to persist, reinforcing views that the Committee is in no hurry to raise rates," she said.

Elsewhere, Germany's DAX 30 index was marginally higher at 9,659.80, while France's CAC 40 index dropped 0.2% to 4,461.93.

Outside the major country-specific indexes, shares of Alfa Laval AB advanced 2.9% after the Swedish engineering group said it won an order for marine-exhaust-gas cleaning systems worth 75 million Swedish kronor ($11.35 million).

United Internet AG picked up 7% after the German software firm said first-quarter sales rose to a record level, representing almost 13% year-over-year growth.