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European Markets Close Mixed as Covid Surge Dents Sentiment; Volvo Slides 7%

Ludovic Marin | AFP | Getty Images
  • Swiss online pharmacy Zur Rose Group surged 8.6% after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating.
  • At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Sweden's Volvo fell 7% after warning that the global shortage of semiconductors would affect its production in the second quarter.

LONDON — European stocks closed mixed on Tuesday as concerns over a third wave of Covid infections in the region rattle investor sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index finished lower by 0.1%, paring most of its earlier losses. Autos dropped 2.5% while telecoms climbed 1.3%.

European markets followed lackluster sentiment around the globe; shares in Asia-Pacific mostly slipped in Tuesday trade, with Chinese search giant Baidu making its debut in Hong Kong. U.S. stocks also made a negative start to Tuesday's trade.


Sentiment in Europe is likely to be weighed down this week by reports of rising infections in the region that could derail and delay plans to ease restrictions and lift lockdowns.

On the data front, the U.K. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 5% in the three months to January, official statistics revealed Tuesday.

"Many sectors are now tentatively getting back on their feet, and outside of consumer services employment has been improving," said ING Developed Markets Economist James Smith.

"Admin and support for example, has made more-or-less a full recovery, according to the payroll data. Those sectors that aren't operating are covered by the furlough scheme."

An eye will also be kept on Israel's general election Tuesday. The snap election is too close to call, but crowds of Israelis demonstrated outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday night, calling for him to be voted out of office.

In terms of individual share price movement, Swiss online pharmacy Zur Rose Group surged 8.6% after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Sweden's Volvo fell 7% after warning that the global shortage of semiconductors would affect its production in the second quarter.

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