European shares advanced on Tuesday, in a broad-based rally, as tepid growth figures from Europe led investors to focus on expectations for fresh stimulus measures from the region's policymakers.

The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,101.05, having lost 0.4 percent in the previous session, albeit in thin trading volume - at around 50 percent of its 90-day daily average.

“European markets continue to advance on the lack of incrementally bad news and the hope for further stimulus by the ECB,” said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at Hampstead Capital, which manages around $500 million of assets.

“All this is taking place on very low volumes though. Still hard to be fully invested given the background.”

The data out of Europe struck a fine balance between keeping alive expectations for stimulus, without unnerving investors.

Second-quarter GDP data from France and Germany came in above forecasts, easing concerns about the euro zone's two biggest economies, though the region as a whole contracted over the period, maintaining support for the case for ECB action. - Reuters