European stocks traded modestly higher in early trading as basic resource and energy stocks led gainers and traders reacted to better-than-expected business activity data in Germany and France

Britain's FTSE 100 added around 7.5 points by 08:40 GMT, boosted by mining and energy company shares, even as the biggest single-day decline for BT Group Plc (BT) shares in at least eight years held down gains.

BT Group plc (BT) shares plunged as much as 17.6% to change hands at 314 pence each, the lowest since June 2013, by 08:40 GMT. The company said Tuesday it was trimming its profit guidance and cautioned that writedowns in its Italian business linked to accounting irregularities will be much larger than expected.

Germany's DAX performance index also edged higher, rising 3.5 points after a reading of manufacturing activity in Europe's biggest economy rose to a 33-month high of 56.5 last month, offset an easing in the pace of service sector activity, which fell to a four-month low. Data from France also showed that activity surged to five-and-a-half year high even as manufacturing slowed to a one-month low.

U.K. investors are also bracing for what could be a crucial decision from the country's Supreme Court at 09:30 GMT, which justices will rule on a High Court verdict from late last year that compels Prime Minister Theresa May to seek parliamentary approval for the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - otherwise known as the mechanism that will start Britain's two-year exit from the European Union.

The pound, which has largely risen in concert with news that investors perceive as indicating a "softer" Brexit option for the government, was marked at 1.2473 after trading as high as 1.2502 in early Asia dealing.

The weaker dollar dominated equity market direction in Asia, where the yen rose to a November high of 112.52 against the greenback and led the benchmark Nikkei 225 into a 0.5% decline and its second consecutive session of losses. Australia's S&P/ASX index, however, which is heavily-influenced by basic resource prices that are boosted by a weaker dollar, rose 0.7% into the close to end the day at 5,650.1 points,

Around the region, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index was marked 0.34% higher as European traders began to take control at 07:00 GMT.

The dollar's decline also pulled benchmark bond yields markedly lower, with 10-year U.S. Treasuries falling to 2.39% in the sharpest single-day decline in more than two weeks. German 10-year bunds were marked 6 basis points lower 0.36%.

U.S. futures prices are pointing to a weaker open on Wall Street, as well, following Monday's modest declines, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average called 7 points lower at the start of trading. However, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are expected to add marginal gains at the bell, although much will depend on the spate of corporate earnings anticipated later today, including Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) - Get Report , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report and DuPont (DD) - Get Report .