European benchmarks rallied late on Tuesday in response to a surge in U.S. consumer confidence, helping to round off what was a broadly positive session for the Continent's equity markets.

Markets had opened the session higher as investors checked earlier pessimism, and recent fallers lifted benchmarks across the board. However, Conference Board data showing U.S. consumer confidence rising to its highest level since 2001 delivered the bulk of the session's gains.

The day's price action came just one day ahead of the date when Britain is expected to begin the formal process of exiting the European Union, which is a two-year process that starts the invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose by 0.69% to close at 7,343 while the mid-market FTSE 250 index gained 0.26% to settle at 18,951. This is while, in Paris, the CAC 40 index added 0.57% to close at 5,047.

The DAX in Frankfurt stood out from the crowd among major European indices with a gain of 1.26%, closing at 12,148, following a rally that was drive largely by strong gains in the nation's top two banks.

In individual stocks Wolseley (WOSYY) , owner of the Ferguson plumbing merchants, rose more than 8% at its peak after it topped estimates for first-half earnings and set out plans that could see it move its listing to New York from London.

The materials merchant said it will rename the group as Ferguson and change its reporting currency to U.S. dollars later this year, in a move that analysts have said could be a precursor to it moving its listing to New York.

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Wolseley earns more than 65% of sales in the U.S. and 80% of trading profit from Ferguson in the U.S. while shareholders could benefit from a change in the listing given the higher multiples paid for companies listed in America.

The FTSE 100 also drew support from emerging markets focused bank Standard Chartered (SCBFF) and educational materials provider Pearson (PSO) - Get Report .

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report and Commerzbank (CRZBY) were the top risers on the DAX, after rising by 2.8% and 3.2% respectively.

Both were boosted by the failure of a government bond auction after the German government attempted to raise €4 billion ($4.25) of two near notes. It took just more than €3 billion of bids but failed to hit its target after investors declined to take up the notes, whose yields are negative.

The failed auction is a first since November 2016 and may have been taken as a signal by equity investors that fixed income yields, and therefore market rates, have reached their lower bound for the time being.

There was a positive spillover effect the spanned the breadth of the European bank universe on Tuesday.

In Paris, Credit Agricole (CRARY) and BNP Paribas (BNPQY) were the top risers on the CAC 40, after gaining 3.8% and 2.6% respectively.

This is while Banco Populare (BPESF) was among the top gainers in Madrid, after rising more than 3%, and UBS (OUBSF) featured near to the top of SMI in Switzerland.