Markets

European markets close lower as weak German data and U.S. virus surge shake sentiment

Key Points
  • The Greater Miami area on Monday became the latest new Covid-19 hotspot in the U.S. to reverse some of its reopening efforts, as new cases continue to surge nationwide.
  • German industrial production came in weaker than expected on Tuesday morning, rising by 7.8% in May, a more modest rebound than the 10% expected by analysts polled by Reuters, following a -17.5% contraction in April.

European markets closed lower Tuesday as concerns over the threat to economic recovery of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. and weak German data put the brakes on Monday's rally.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by around 0.6% provisionally, with tech shares shedding 1.2% to lead losses as most sectors and major bourses slid into negative territory.

German industrial production data came in weaker than expected on Tuesday morning, rising by 7.8% in May, a more modest rebound than the 10% expected by analysts polled by Reuters following a -17.5% contraction in April.

The European Commission on Tuesday cut its economic forecasts, and now expects the 27-member region to contract by 8.3% this year, followed by a rebound of 5.8% in 2021. In May, the Commission estimated a 7.4% contraction for total GDP across the region this year, with a rebound of 6.1% in 2021.

Stateside, equities were mixed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indexes slipping into the red while the Nasdaq Composite rose, supported by a climb in tech stocks.

The Greater Miami area on Monday became the latest new Covid-19 hot spot to reverse some of its reopening efforts, as new cases continue to surge nationwide. There are now more than 2.9 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 130,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, further alarm bells have been sounded over the possible airborne spread of the virus, with the World Health Organization now reviewing a request from over 200 scientists for renewed guidance.

Investor focus remains attuned to news of potential treatments and vaccines, with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. and China's Sinovac Biotech both launching late-stage trials on Monday of an antibody cocktail and potential vaccine, respectively.

In the U.K., investors are looking ahead to Wednesday's announcement of the government's plans for the next stage of the country's economic recovery from the pandemic, with hopes for further fiscal stimulus from Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Biggest movers

In terms of individual share price action, British software firm Micro Focus tumbled almost 20% after swinging to a first-half loss and offering a bleak outlook for the rest of the year.

Bayer fell around 5% after a U.S. judge questioned part of the German life sciences company's settlement for claims relating to its weedkiller Roundup causing cancer.

At the top of the European blue chip index, Commerzbank shares climbed nearly 4% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "underweight," citing ongoing strategic changes. The German bank said its CEO and chairman had both decided to resign Friday, amid shareholder pressure to change strategy.