European shares edge higher ahead of fresh burst of data and earnings

European stocks made muted gains on Tuesday ahead of a fresh burst of data that may offer further clues about the health of the global economy.

The regional Stoxx 600 added 0.2 per cent at the open. Germany’s Dax rose 0.2 per cent, while London’s FTSE 100 ticked up 0.3 per cent.

Those moves came as investors awaited international trade figures from the EU and the latest German economic sentiment survey from Zew. US housing starts data are due later in the day, giving an insight into new monthly residential construction in the country.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer — widely perceived to be a bellwether of the American consumer — will also report quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Weak figures from the consumer group and department store chain Target in May sparked some of the biggest declines for US stocks this year.

In Asian equity markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.2 per cent, pulled lower by a drop in the shares of food delivery group Meituan after Reuters reported that tech group Tencent plans to sell all or a bulk of its 17 per cent stake in the business.

That decline erased earlier gains for the Hang Seng that had been underpinned by a sharp rise in the shares of Chinese property companies, on reports that Beijing may order state-run groups to guarantee some developer bonds issued in the country’s onshore market.

A day earlier, Chinese shares had slipped lower after economic data for the company showed retail sales and industrial output rose at a slower pace than economists had expected — further complicating the global growth outlook. China’s central bank on Monday cut its medium-term lending rate by 0.1 percentage points to 2.75 per cent.

Futures contracts tracking Wall Street’s S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent on Tuesday.

In commodities, Brent crude lost 1 per cent to trade at $94.15 a barrel. A day earlier, the international oil benchmark had slipped more than 5 per cent to as low as $92.78 in the latest sign of recession fears stalking markets. US marker West Texas Intermediate was down 0.5 per cent on Tuesday at $88.92 a barrel, after sliding to its weakest level since early February on Monday — before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US government bonds were steady on Tuesday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note broadly flat at 2.8 per cent. Germany’s equivalent Bund yield edged 0.03 percentage points higher to 0.93 per cent, as the price of the instrument — seen as a proxy for European borrowing costs — fell.

The dollar added 0.1 per cent against a basket of six other currencies.


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