European markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday as investors, digesting a slew of earnings announcements and looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement, largely refrained from making significant moves.
Uncertainty about the pace of global economic rebound due to the continued surge in coronavirus cases in India and Japan weighed on sentiment.
The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.08%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended lower by 0.26%, Germany’s DAX shed 0.31% and France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.03%, while Switzerland’s SMI ended with a loss of 0.63%.
Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Russia drifted lower.
Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Turkey closed higher, while Iceland ended flat.
In the UK market, Aveva Group declined nearly 5.5%, Rolls-Royce Holdings shed 4.5% and Bunzl ended 4.4% down. Whitbread, owner of Premier Inn hotels, gave up more than 3% after it swung to pretax loss for fiscal 2021.
Polymetal International, Fresnillo, Renishaw, Ashtead Group, Informa and Hikma Pharmaceuticals also ended sharply lower.
On the other hand, HSBC Holdings moved up 4.2% after reporting a significantly better-than-expected 79% rise in first quarter profit on the back of an improving economic outlook.
Experian, Lloyds Banking, Entain, BT Group, Natwest Group and Standard Chartered gained 1 to 2%.
In France, LOreal, Michelin, Safran, Airbus Group, Technip, Engie, Sodexo and Faurecia lost 1 to 2%, while Societe Generale, Veolia, Unibail Rodamco, Credit Agricole, LVMH, Carrefour and Valeo closed notably higher.
In the German market, HeidelbergCement and Bayer closed notably lower, while Merck, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Bank, Beiersdorf, Infineon Technologies and Lufthansa moved up.
Shares of Swiss lender UBS declined sharply after the bank reported an unexpected $774 million hit from the collapse of U.S. investment fund Archegos.
In the Swedish market, Evolution Gaming Group soared 15% after its quarterly core earnings jumped 150%.
In economic news, UK retailers reported the strongest growth in sales since September 2018, according to the Distributive Trades Survey, released by the Confederation of British Industry.
The retail sales balance rose more-than-expected to +20% in April from -45% in March. The balance was forecast to improve to -5%. This was the highest score since September 2018 and the increase was partly driven by base effects due to the sharp fall in sales volumes seen in April 2020. A net 10% expects sales to rise next month.
Sweden’s central bank retained its key interest rate and the asset purchase programme on Tuesday, to support economic recovery and subdued inflation.
The Executive Board of Riksbank decided to hold the repo rate at 0%. The rate is set to remain at the current level in the coming years.
The board also kept the envelope of the asset purchase programme unchanged at SEK 700 billion, and vowed to design monetary policy so that it supports the recovery and inflation as long as necessary.