By Jack Denton
European stocks marched into the green on Tuesday, reversing two sessions of declines, as the market continued to absorb earnings reports against the backdrop of concerns over vaccine supplies and lockdown measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.78% was 0.9% higher, while London’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.31% rose 0.7%. In Paris the CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.82% was trading 1% higher and Frankfurt’s DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.97% rose 1.5%.
Dow futures /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.85% were flat, set for a soft open after the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.85% ended Monday 37 points lower to close at 30,960.
The European Union has lashed out at AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.01% , alleging that the drug company and developer of a COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford failed to guarantee delivery of vaccines without a valid explanation.
The bloc has threatened to impose tight export controls imminently on COVID-19 vaccines made in the group of 27 member states. The EU is lagging behind the U.K. and U.S. in rolling out vaccines, as coronavirus continues to rage in Europe.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new border controls on Tuesday, as calls for a third national lockdown in France grow louder and violent anti-lockdown protests continue in the Netherlands.
“European markets got off to a disappointing start to the week on a combination of concerns about another lockdown in France, the threat of tighter restrictions for longer across Europe, slower vaccine rollout, as well as disruption to vaccine supply,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.
In Italy, the benchmark index FTSE MIB /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 -0.55% was trading above flat but is hovering near a month-low as political turmoil continues in Rome. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has come under intense scrutiny over his handling of the pandemic, is set to resign on Tuesday amid political uncertainty that could see him try to form another government or lead to snap elections .
UBS /zigman2/quotes/206994749/delayed CH:UBSG -0.66% was a standout in European trading, with shares in the global wealth manager rising around 3.5% after an upbeat earnings report beat expectations. Net profit attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter jumped 137% on a year-over-year basis.
Finnish telecom group Nokia /zigman2/quotes/203672305/delayed FI:NOKIA -1.73% is in the spotlight, with the stock up more than 4% on Tuesday, after it jumped 17% in bumpy Monday trading to close 8% higher. The stock has become a target of day traders on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum. The online community has made headlines in the past week for piling into videogame retail chain GameStop’s /zigman2/quotes/203755179/composite GME +4.07% stock and options, hammering short sellers and ratcheting up volatility.
Shares in British engineer Rolls-Royce /zigman2/quotes/203646520/delayed UK:RR -5.07% are down near 10%, continuing losses from Monday. The group warned in a trading update that free cash outflow in 2021 will be around £2 billion ($2.7 billion) — more than expected.
Novartis /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN -1.68% , one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical groups, missed profit expectations in the fourth quarter, though sales beat expectations. The stock fell near 3%.
European internet investor Prosus /zigman2/quotes/214038022/delayed NL:PRX -3.48% is feeling the pressure from Tencent’s stock price, with shares in the Chinese internet giant’s largest investor down 3%. Tencent’s stock fell more than 6% in Asian trading, as the company approached a $1 trillion market valuation.