European Shares Mixed As Virus Worries Persist

stockmarkets dec17 30jun20 lt

European stocks were mixed on Tuesday as fears surrounding a surge in coronavirus cases around the world offset encouraging factory activity data from China.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu warned Monday that "the worst is yet to come."

"The lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world ... is actually helping the virus to spread," he said at a briefing in Geneva.

Separately, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has welcomed the return of economic activity, but cautioned the outlook for the United States is still "extraordinarily uncertain."

In economic releases, Eurozone inflation accelerated in June as prices of energy decreased at a slower pace, preliminary data from Eurostat showed.

Inflation rose to 0.3 percent from 0.1 percent in May. Economists had forecast the rate to remain unchanged at 0.1 percent.

U.K. GDP numbers for the first quarter came in far gloomier than expected. Gross domestic product fell 2.2 percent sequentially instead of 2 percent decrease estimated initially. The latest drop was the joint largest contraction since the third quarter of 1979.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was marginally lower at 359.66 after gaining 0.4 percent on Monday.

The German DAX edged up 0.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 index was marginally lower and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.6 percent.

Tech stocks were moving up after an upbeat revenue forecast from U.S. firm Micron Technology.

ASM International and STMicroelectronics rallied over 2 percent, while Infineon Technologies gained about 1 percent.

Banks were broadly lower, with Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas falling over 1 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell lost 2.8 percent. The oil and gas company expects post-tax impairment charges to be in the range of $15 billion to $22 billion in the second quarter, after revising its outlook for commodity prices and margin outlook amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Electronics manufacturer Filtronic tumbled 3 percent. The company said there is considerable uncertainty in the markets in which it operates.

InterContinental Hotels Group declined 1.2 percent. The company confirmed around 10 percent of its hotels worldwide are now closed.

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty rose about 1 percent after bagging a Hong Kong contract worth around £577m.

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