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European shares reversed course to close higher Tuesday after China's State Council announced that it is considering relaxing and removing restrictions on auto purchases as part of a broad move to boost consumption.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished 0.5% higher provisionally, with auto stocks receiving a boost from the Chinese announcement as almost every sector closed in positive territory. China also said it will encourage credit support for purchases of new energy vehicles and smart home appliances.
Investors are monitoring the potential recommencement of U.S.-China trade talks and unfolding developments in Italian politics. Market sentiment appeared to improve at the start of the week after President Donald Trump said on Monday that Washington officials had been in touch with Beijing over reopening trade negotiations.
But the president's remarks were subsequently contradicted by Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, who said in a tweet that negotiators from both countries did not talk over the phone. Hu's tabloid is run by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party.
Stateside, stocks on Wall Street opened in positive territory but soon turned lower as investors digested the latest developments in the Sino-U.S. trade war.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and France have reached a compromise agreement on France's digital tax, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. Trump had earlier threatened to hit France with a retaliatory wine tax over the move, which would see the revenues of large tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google hit with a 3% levy.
Italian politics has emerged front and center once again as talks between the ruling Five Star Movement (M5S) and the opposition Democratic Party (PD) to form a new coalition government ran into trouble on Tuesday.
The two parties clashed over potential cabinet roles, leading M5S to suspend negotiations until PD committed to return outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to the helm. The PD meanwhile accused M5S of obstructing negotiations by demanding the role of interior minister for its leader Luigi Di Maio.
As for data, German GDP (gross domestic product) data showed Europe's largest economy contracted on weaker exports in the second quarter, as trade disputes and waning foreign demand continued to weigh.
London-listed NMC Health surged to the top of the European index on Tuesday, its shares gaining nearly 7% during ther session. It was closely followed by another London-based firm, oil and gas company Technipfmc, which saw its share price climb 5.6% after announcing it would split into two companies.
At the other end of the Stoxx 600, Sweden's Dometic Group tumbled 7.5% as a downward trend in U.S. leisure vehicle shipments continued, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Rockwool International fell 4.6% on target price cuts from Barclays and Morgan Stanley.