European Stocks Close Slightly Higher With Data and Earnings in Focus

Tolga Akmen | AFP via Getty Images
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by 0.1% with retail stocks climbing 1.6% while banks shed 0.6%.
  • U.K. GDP grew 0.4% in February from the previous month according to official data published Tuesday, slightly missing expectations.
  • April's ZEW economic sentiment index for Germany showed investor morale falling unexpectedly in Europe's largest economy.

LONDON — European markets closed slightly higher on Tuesday as investors monitored key economic data and the beginning of corporate earnings season.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by 0.1% with retail stocks climbing 1.6% while banks shed 0.6%.

On Wall Street, stocks were mixed after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it's recommending a pause in the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine over blood clotting concerns.

U.S. investors were also digesting a highly anticipated inflation report which showed consumer prices rising in March. The consumer price index rose 0.6% from the previous month but 2.6% from the same period a year ago. The year-over-year gain is the highest since August 2018.

Back in Europe, U.K. GDP grew 0.4% in February from the previous month according to official data published Tuesday, slightly missing economist expectations of a 0.6% expansion. Manufacturing output rose by 1.3%, outstripping expectations for a 0.5% monthly gain, while services output grew 0.2%, missing projections for 0.6% growth.

April's ZEW economic sentiment index for Germany showed investor morale falling unexpectedly in Europe's largest economy, amid rising fears of a return to harsher lockdown measures. The survey fell to 70.7 points from 76.6 in March, after a Reuters poll forecast a climb to 79.0.

In corporate news, Airbus on Monday announced that both its defense and technology chiefs will step down on July 1 and appointed a new chief operating officer. CEO Guillaume Faury said the shake-up would scrap the split ownership of technical resources and lead to greater cohesion within the planemaker's ranks.

Meanwhile, China Eastern Airline will increase its stake in Air France KLM after contributing to a $1.2 billion share issue, the Franco-Dutch airline group announced Monday.

Earnings season kicks off

Earnings season also gets underway in Europe, with French luxury group LVMH reporting after the bell while the U.K.'s JD Sports and French Connection and Switzerland's Givaudan all reported Tuesday morning.

Shares of Just Eat Takeaway rose 6.7% after the British-Dutch food delivery company said in a business update that orders rose by 79% in the first quarter. German rival Delivery Hero's shares were up by 3.3%, while Deliveroo climbed 5.7%.

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