European stocks were mixed on Tuesday morning as concerns over containment of the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on investor sentiment, despite promising data out of China.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered just above the flatline by late morning, with banks dropping 1.3% to lead losses while technology stocks climbed 0.8%.
European markets are struggling to follow the positive trend set by markets in Asia Pacific, which rose Tuesday afternoon as China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index for June came in above expectations.
China’s official manufacturing PMI for June came in at 50.9, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Economists in a Reuters poll had a median forecast of 50.4 for the data print. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that indicate contraction. In May, the official manufacturing PMI was at 50.6, according to the NBS.
However, data from Japan Tuesday showed that industrial production in May dropped 8.4% month on month, according to data released in a preliminary report by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Global markets are also keeping watch of developments in the coronavirus pandemic, as more U.S. governors are walking back or delaying reopening plans as Covid-19 cases climb around the country due to a surge in new cases. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said Monday that the pandemic is still accelerating and without more collaborative global intervention, “the worst is yet to come.”
In corporate news, oil giant Shell announced on Tuesday that it will write down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion in the second quarter after revising down its long-term outlook for oil and gas prices. Shares fell 2.3% in early trade.
Standard Life Aberdeen announced Tuesday morning that CEO Keith Skeoch will step down, to be replaced by former Citi executive Stephen Bird. The British investment group’s shares climbed 3.2% on the news.
In other individual share price action, British engineering company Smiths Group climbed 6.4% in early trade to lead the Stoxx 600, while U.K. homebuilder Redrow fell 4.4% after announcing that it will shrink its London business and warning of a drop in sales. French corporate bank Natixis also dropped 4.4%.