Markets

European Stocks Close Mostly Higher as Traders Await Powell Testimony

Tolga Akmen | AFP via Getty Images
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by nearly 0.3%, having fluctuated between gains and losses earlier in the day.
  • Traders are awaiting testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in the House of Representatives Tuesday.
  • French media group Vivendi won the backing of shareholders for its proposed spin-off of crown jewel Universal Music Group.

LONDON — European stocks closed slightly higher Tuesday as investors assessed the outlook on inflation and interest rates.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by nearly 0.3%, having fluctuated between gains and losses earlier in the day. Most sectors and major bourses were in positive territory, with basic resources shares climbing 1.3% to lead gains.

Stateside, stocks the major U.S. indexes were mostly positive Tuesday, after a bumper start to the week.

Traders are awaiting testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in the House of Representatives Tuesday on the central bank's response to the pandemic.

Powell's remarks, which were released ahead of the hearing Monday evening, are likely to support the notion that the Fed is ready to soon start discussing removing some of its unprecedented stimulus measures enacted during the pandemic.

Last week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting concluded with officials indicating they now see two rate increases coming as soon as 2023, more quickly than the market had been anticipating.

Back in Europe, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde gave markets a boost on Monday by offering an optimistic outlook for the euro zone economy and noting that the bloc is "clearly in a different situation" to the U.S. with regard to inflation.

Britain will on Tuesday commence negotiations to join a trans-Pacific trade accord that the government sees as critical to its post-Brexit future. Comprising Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will erase 95% of tariffs on goods and services between members.

In corporate news, French media group Vivendi on Tuesday won the backing of shareholders for its proposed spin-off of crown jewel Universal Music Group.

During a shareholder meeting, investors overwhelmingly backed the proposal — which would see the world's largest music label complete its listing on the Euronext Amsterdam in late September.

On the data front, euro zone consumer confidence for June rose 1.8 points from a month earlier, according to a flash estimate released Tuesday.

In terms of individual share price movement, Travis Perkins jumped 6.7% after forecasting strong profits on the back of robust building materials demand.

British property groups Land Securities and British Land climbed 3.2% and 4.7%, respectively, after JPMorgan upgraded their shares to "overweight."

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, online pharmacy companies Zur Rose Group and Shop Apotheke Europe fell 5.2% and 6.3% respectively.

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