European stocks swung between gains and losses before closing mixed on Tuesday as investors largely stayed cautious, tracking news about coronavirus spread, U.S.-China trade tensions, and the latest batch of economic data from across the globe.
The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.13%. Among the major indices, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.9% and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.19%, while Germany’s DAX surged up 0.64%. Switzerland’s SMI declined 0.15%.
In the second quarter of this year, CAC 40 gained 12.3% and the FTSE 100 added 9%, while DAX gained as much as 24%.
Among other markets in Europe, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain and Sweden closed weak today.
Greece and Turkey moved up, while Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal ended flat.
In the U.K. market, Smiths climbed up 8.4% and Carnival rallied nearly 8%. Ferguson and Standard Life moved up 3% and 2.8%, respectively.
IAG, Royal Dutch Shell, Hikma Pharmaceutical, BP, BAE Systems, Intercontinental, Hargreaves Lansdown and Meggitt lost 2 to 3.7%.
In Germany, Wirecard shares spurted nearly 52%. Thyssenkrupp, Deutsche Post, Henkel, Munich RE, SAP and Infineon Technologies gained 1.3 to 2.3%. On the other hand, Bayer, Covestro and HeidelbergCement lost 1.2 to 1.7%.
In the French market, STMicroElectronics and Valeo both moved up more than 3%. Worldline, Peugeot, Publicis Groupe, Dassault Systemes, Renault, Atos, Bouygues and CapGemini gained 1 to 2.4%.
On the other hand, Essilor declined 2.7%, while Total, Michelin and Vivendi lost 1.5 to 1.7%.
In economic news, the UK economy contracted at the joint fastest pace since 1979 as measures taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus weighed on all sectors, revised data published by the Office for National Statistics showed.
Gross domestic product fell 2.2% sequentially instead of 2% decrease estimated initially and followed a nil growth in the fourth quarter of 2019. The latest drop was the joint largest contraction since the third quarter of 1979. On a yearly basis, GDP was down 1.7% in the first quarter, revised down from 1.6% estimated in May.
According to preliminary data from Eurostat, Eurozone inflation rose to 0.3% from 0.1% in May. Economists had forecast the rate to remain unchanged at 0.1%. Headline inflation continued to remain well below the European Central Bank’s target of “below, but close to 2 percent.”
France’s consumer price inflation slowed to its lowest since 2016 mainly reflecting falling energy prices, preliminary data from the statistical office Insee showed. Another report from Insee showed that household spending bounced back sharply in May but remained below its February level.
Consumer price inflation slowed to 0.1% in June from 0.4% in May. This was the lowest rate since May 2016, when prices remained flat annually.
Switzerland’s retail sales grew for the first time in three months in May as measures to contain the spread of coronavirus were relaxed, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed. Retail sales rose a working-day adjusted 6.6% year-on-year in May, after an 18.8% fall in April, the data showed.
On a monthly basis, seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 30.7% in May, after a 13.7% fall in the prior month.
Meanwhile, on the coronavirus pandemic, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu warned Monday that “the worst is yet to come.”
“The lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world … is actually helping the virus to spread,” he said at a briefing in Geneva.
Separately, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has welcomed the return of economic activity, but cautioned the outlook for the United States is still “extraordinarily uncertain.”
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