European stocks were broadly lower on Tuesday as concerns about a new variant coronavirus and new lockdowns cast a shadow on the economic outlook.
Schools have closed to most pupils in England, Scotland and Wales, while Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”.
British PM Boris Johnson warned the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet”.
Germany is considering extending lockdown measures beyond January 10.
The pan European Stoxx 600 slid 0.1 percent to 401.21 after rising 0.7 percent in the previous session. The German DAX dropped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 index eased 0.3 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up half a percent.
Chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor surged 4.2 percent after giving an upbeat fourth-quarter revenue forecast due to stronger-than-expected consumer demand for 5G phones and tablets.
Saint-Gobain shares rose about 1 percent. The company has entered into exclusive negotiations with Building Materials Europe in preparation for the sale of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution the Netherlands.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV rose 0.7 percent after announcing it will invest $250 million to grow its presence in India.
Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP jumped 2-3 percent in London ahead of OPEC+ output decision.
Fashion retailer Next surged 8.5 percent after announcing better-than-expected Christmas revenues.
Ryanair Holdings shares fell 1.3 percent. The low-cost airline announced that Group traffic declined 83 percent year-on-year to 1.9 million guests for the month of December.
In economic releases, German unemployment declined unexpectedly in December, the Federal Labor Agency reported.
The number of people out of work decreased by 37,000 from November, in contrast to the expected increase of 10,000. Unemployment had decreased by 40,000 in November.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1 percent in December, as expected.
German retail sales grew more than expected in November driven by non-food retailing, data from Destatis revealed.
In November, retail turnover climbed by a real 5.6 percent from the previous year, which was faster than the expected growth of 3.9 percent but slower than the 8.6 percent increase logged in October.
On a monthly basis, retail sales grew unexpectedly by 1.9 percent. Economists had forecast a month-on-month fall of 2 percent after a 2.6 percent rise in October.
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