Europe Markets

European stocks wrap up their best quarter in five years

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up by 0.25%, but was up almost 13% in the first quarter.

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday, wrapping up their best quarterly performance in five years.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by 0.25% provisionally, but was up almost 13% in the first quarter. It marks the best quarter for the index since the first quarter of 2015.

European markets whipsawed throughout Tuesday's session, struggling to follow the positive trend set by markets in Asia Pacific, which rose as China's official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index for June came in above expectations.

On Wall Street, the main stock indexes were mostly higher, but gains were capped with investors are wary of developments in the coronavirus pandemic. Still, U.S. equities were on track to wrap up their best quarterly performance in decades.

More U.S. governors are walking back or delaying reopening plans as Covid-19 cases climb around the country due to a surge in new cases. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said Monday that the pandemic is still accelerating and without more collaborative global intervention, "the worst is yet to come."

In corporate news, oil giant Shell announced on Tuesday that it will write down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion in the second quarter after revising down its long-term outlook for oil and gas prices. Shares fell 3%.

Standard Life Aberdeen announced Tuesday morning that CEO Keith Skeoch will step down, to be replaced by former Citi executive Stephen Bird. The British investment group's shares climbed 0.6% on the news.

In other individual share price action, British engineering company Smiths Group climbed nearly 9% to lead the Stoxx 600, while U.K. homebuilder Redrow fell almost 7% after announcing that it will shrink its London business and warning of a drop in sales.