European stocks fell on Tuesday as rising COVID case counts in several regions fueled talks of another round of painful lockdowns in China, especially in Shanghai or Beijing.
Investors also fretted about a worsening energy crisis in Europe. A major gas pipeline from Russia to western Europe shut down for annual maintenance on Monday and is scheduled to be out of action until July 21.
It is feared that the shutdown might be extended as the European Union prepares to impose a phased embargo on Russian oil and ban maritime insurance for any tanker that carries Russian oil.
On the data front, expectations for economic growth in Germany slumped in July, data from the ZEW economic research institute showed. The corresponding index fell to minus 53.8 from minus 28.0 in June.
Separate data from the British Retail Consortium and the advisory services firm KPMG revealed that U.K. retail sales decreased for the third consecutive month in June.
Like-for-like sales decreased 1.3 percent on a yearly basis in June while overall sales were down 1.0 percent.
Traders now look ahead to the release of a highly anticipated U.S. inflation report this week for clues about what the Federal Reserve may do next to fight inflation.
The pan European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.2 percent to 414.23 after declining half a percent on Monday.
The German DAX was down 0.6 percent, while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 both dipped around 0.2 percent.
Norway’s biggest lender DnB rallied 2.5 percent after its quarterly earnings topped forecasts.
Dutch paints and coating maker AkzoNobel dropped about 1 percent after it announced a 20 million euros investment to improve production at two of its sites in France creating around 30 new jobs.
Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore fell 1-2 percent on worries about a possible recession.
British women’s fashion retailer Sosandar jumped 4.5 percent after reporting an improved annual outturn.
United Utilities rose 1.4 percent after it agreed to sell its non-appointed renewable energy business, United Utilities Renewable Energy Ltd. to SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust plc for about £100 million enterprise value.
Thales Group shares jumped 3.6 percent in Paris. The designer and builder of electrical systems announced its agreement to acquire OneWelcome, a Dutch provider of Customer Identity and Access Management for a total consideration of 100 million euros.
The transaction is expected to be completed during the second half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Utility EDF surged 6.5 percent following a Reuters report that the French government will pay more than 8 billion euros ($8 billion) to nationalize the company.
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