LONDON — European markets closed mixed Tuesday, as a global risk rally fueled by economic recovery hopes lost steam.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session fractionally below the flatline, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.
On Wall Street, stocks also struggled for direction as trading recommenced following Monday's Presidents Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 55 points, while the S&P 500 was also higher. But the Nasdaq Composite was slightly below the flatline.
The World Health Organization on Monday authorized the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, expanding access to the comparatively inexpensive shot around the world.
Euro zone GDP fell by less than expected in the final quarter of 2020, with official estimates Tuesday indicating a 0.6% quarter-on-quarter contraction. Previous flash estimates had suggested a 0.7% fall.
Employment across the common currency bloc grew 0.3% between October and December, according to Eurostat, despite many of its major economies reinstating nationwide lockdown measures.
The latest survey from the ZEW economic research institute showed German economic sentiment unexpectedly climbing to 71.2 points in February from 61.8 the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a decline to 59.6.
On the earnings front, French tire manufacturer Michelin reported a 2020 full-year net profit of 625 million euros ($758.6 million), a sharp decline from 2019's 1.73 billion euros. However, the company projected up to 10% growth in its markets for 2021 and increased its dividends to shareholders. The company's stock was marginally higher.
A strong round of earnings also came from miners Glencore and BHP, with the former restoring its payments to shareholders and the latter hiking its dividend by 55%. Shares of both firms rose 2% and 1.5% respectively.
"The miners' dividends will help to fill the large hole left by BP and Shell in particular and increases from the diggers underpin consensus forecasts for an increase in total FTSE 100 dividends for 2021 of one sixth," said Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroking platform AJ Bell.
In terms of individual share price movement, shares of TechnipFMC spin-off Technip Energies soared 41% to lead the Stoxx 600 on their first day of trading in Paris. TechnipFMC shares fell more than 6.8% to the bottom of the European blue chip index.
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