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Europe ekes out gains at the close, as retail, commodity stocks rise; political concerns ease

  • The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed up 0.39 percent, while France's CAC 40 popped 0.32 percent. Germany's DAX, however, was closed Tuesday for a national holiday.
  • Spanish stocks were in focus on Tuesday due to political uncertainty in Catalonia.
  • Minutes from the Bank of England's last financial policy committee meeting revealed concerns over Brexit.

European stocks posted slight gains by the close on Tuesday as political concerns eased and investors digested new data releases.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fluctuated throughout trade, before closing up 0.15 percent; as most sectors reversed losses to trade up in later trade.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed up 0.39 percent, while France's CAC 40 popped 0.32 percent. Germany's stock exchanges, however, were closed Tuesday, for a national holiday.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Looking to peripheral bourses, the Spanish IBEX was one of the few indexes to see continued pressure throughout trade, closing just 0.02 percent up at the close, as political uncertainty in Catalonia lingered.

Concerns eased slightly after the government in Madrid said that it wants to work with other parties to resolve the issue of Catalan independence. However, the region, which accounts for about 19 percent of Spain's growth, is a massive political challenge for the country, Fitch said.

In the U.K., disappointing data had weighed on stocks in early trade, however a rise in London-listed basic resources and retail stocks allowed the FTSE to recover. The purchasing managers' index for the construction sector dropped to 48.1 from 51.1 the previous month, the first decline in activity in more than a year.

Meanwhile, minutes from the Bank of England's last financial policy committee meeting revealed concerns over Brexit. The decision to leave the European Union increases risks for British companies borrowing from European banks, they showed.

Looking across the European benchmark, British firm Ferguson closed up 4 percent. This comes after it announced a £500 million ($663 million) share buyback due to higher profits.

Meanwhile, shares of Electrocomponents jumped 5.4 percent, after it issued a trading update on Tuesday, which stated that the company's "good start" in the first quarter, had "continued into Q2".

Siemens Gamesa rose 5.18 percent after it landed a new contract for the supply of 13 turbines in China.

Multinational advertising and PR firm WPP however fell some 2 percent. This comes after Morgan Stanley sold 22.5 million shares in an accelerated bookbuild offering, according to Reuters.

Ericsson, Iberdrola and BAE Systems all fell deep into the red as well, after receiving rating downgrades.

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In sector news, retail rose almost 1 percent as a whole, with French and British retailers in particular posting strong gains, including Casino Guichard, Carrefour and Sainsbury's. This comes after a report by newspaper Le Monde — which cited its own sources — stated that Amazon had approached a number of French supermarket operators.

Looking to commodities, oil and basic resources each posted solid sector gains Tuesday, with oil firm Tullow Oil jumping 3.8 percent and metal prices posting gains. Despite a rise in metal prices and commodity stocks, crude pricesremained under pressure around the European market close.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Siemens Gamesa landed a new contract for the supply of 13 turbines in China.