European Markets Rise amid Optimistic Data; Brexit Chaos Continues

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was able to close higher Tuesday, with most of the main sectors and bourses in the European index recording gains.

British legislators have still not come close to resolving the chaos surrounding the country’s departure from the European Union. The PMI data showed on Tuesday that construction activity in the UK slowed for a second straight month in March.

European stocks ended higher on Tuesday as stronger-than-expected factory activity surveys from the US and China eased worries about the global economy. The STOXX 600 pan-European index rose 0.36%, as major sectors and exchanges in the region were largely positive.

Europe’s banking, auto and insurance sectors were the main gainers, driven in part by the rise of Swedenbank to the top of the European index. The bank’s shares rose 6% on Tuesday after announcing that the Swedish authorities would not investigate money laundering claims filed by investor Bill Browder.

One of the most famous automobile makers, Rolls-Royce, lost more than 1.2 percent after Singapore Airlines grounded two Boeing 787s because their engines, which were built by Rolls Royce, were reportedly wearing out faster than expected.

French company Atos also fell to the bottom of the index after Berenberg lowered its stock recommendation to “sell” from “hold”. Shares listed in Paris fell 2.05% on the news.

Elsewhere, construction activity in the UK slowed for the second straight month in March, as PMI figures showed. Europe’s construction and materials sector fell to a negative territory on the back of data, with London-based construction company Balfour Beatty dropping half a percent.

Brexit Chaos

The market’s focus is largely in line with economic data, after US data showed improvement in manufacturing activity last month and spendings on construction in February.

The optimistic readings overshadowed the disappointing retail sales figures and boosted optimism regarding China. The world’s second-largest economy announced on Monday an unexpected return to growth in the manufacturing sector.

British legislators have still not managed to come close to resolving the chaos surrounding the Brexit deal. On Monday evening, the British parliament failed to win a majority for any proposed alternative to Prime Minister Teresa May’s exit deal.

If no deal manages to pass in the House of Commons during the following days, the United Kingdom is on its way to leaving the EU without an agreement on April 12.


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