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European shares closed higher despite German political uncertainty

Key Points
  • Autos lead the gains on Tuesday, boosted by VW earnings
  • Germany could head to fresh elections after coalition talks failed to produce a new government
  • Public borrowing rose about 7 percent in the U.K. in October from a year ago

European equities ended higher on Tuesday as investors dismissed any negative concerns surrounding a political impasse in Germany.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rallied in afternoon trade, closing up 0.42 percent with all but five sectors finishing in positive territory.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed up 0.3 percent while France's CAC 40 rose 0.48 percent. In Germany, the threat of fresh elections failed to dent investor bullishness and the DAX closed 0.83 percent higher.

In peripheral markets, Spain's IBEX fell 0.32 percent.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

Autos led the gains when it came to sector performance, boosted by earnings.

Volkswagen closed 3 percent on a higher mid-term outlook for group profit and sales. Porsche, which is owned by Volkswagen, consequently rose 2.79 percent, while other German car companies also pushed higher.

In the United Kingdom, the public sector deficit rose after it was reported that Britain borrowed just over £8 billion to balance the books in October.

In the afternoon, Airbus told U.K. politicians in a committee debate that Britain risks losing a chunk of its aviation industry to China as a result of Brexit. Currently, as many as 7,000 wing-manufacturing jobs exist in Wales.

German voters are blaming all major parties in coalition talks, says analyst

In the United States, markets opened higher as investors reacted to better-than-expected corporate earnings from a number of companies. The Nasdaq index reached a record high immediately after the opening bell as tech stocks, in particular, performed well.

A rise in Apple's stock benefited all three major indices. This came despite a report suggesting that one of its Chinese suppliers has been illegally employing students to work overtime in order to assemble its new iPhone X.

Back in Europe, corporate earnings continued to come in thick and fast with Enel shares rising 2.58 percent after the group presented its 2018-2020 business plan on Tuesday.

EasyJet, meanwhile, soared to the top of the European benchmark, closing up more than 5 percent after its full-year results. The airline noted an encouraging start to its new fiscal year. The news helped push other airlines higher, including Ryanair and International Airlines Group.

Elsewhere, Altice slipped 5 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock from "buy" to "neutral".

At the bottom of the STOXX 600, Aggreko saw its shares tank more than 10 percent as the effect of discounts it made to win a contract in Argentina earlier this year weighed on its third-quarter results.