LONDON – European stocks closed higher on Tuesday as global markets sought to build on some of the positive momentum seen at the start of a new trading week.
Pan-European stocks added 1.2% towards the end of the 600, while underlying resources led gains rose 3.5% as almost all sectors and major markets ended in positive territory.
The war in Ukraine remains a key focus for European market sentiment, with fighting in the east and south-east of the country.
On Monday, it was reported that more than 260 Ukrainian fighters, some of whom had been seriously injured, had been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant – the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the town of Mariupol – and taken to Russian-controlled territory.
With both Finland and Sweden announcing their bids to join the Western military alliance NATO, all eyes are on Russia and how it might react. Moscow has already expressed outrage at the idea of expanding its old enemy, NATO, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that NATO expansion is “a problem.” Although Russia has promised retaliatory measures, it is uncertain how it will work.
On the data front on Tuesday, UK unemployment fell to its lowest level since 1974 in the first quarter, according to official figures released on Tuesday, but rising inflation pushed wages down.
Eurozone GDP grew 0.3% in the first quarter, Eurostat data released on Tuesday, as economic activity remained resilient despite the impact of the Omicron Kovid-19 form and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Imperial Brands rose 7.6% after strong results and optimistic guidance in terms of personal share price movement.
Clariant rose 7.3% after the Swiss chemical company announced that its delayed full-year earnings report would be released on May 19 and would conclude a governing agreement with the largest shareholder, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
Below the European Blue Chip Index, Swedish investment firm Storskozen Group fell 17% after its first-quarter results.
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