European Stocks Higher; Marks & Spencer Soars with U.K. Retail Sector in Play

This post was originally published on this site – European stock markets traded higher Tuesday, helped by stronger than expected German growth and the full U.S. approval of a Covid-19 vaccine.

At 4:15 AM ET (0815 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1% and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.1%.

Economic data released Tuesday showed that the German economy grew more than expected in the second quarter. Gross domestic product climbed an adjusted 1.6% on the quarter, up from its previous estimate of 1.5%, helped by the easing of Covid-19 curbs.

That’s a sharp rebound from the first quarter’s decline but gains have been limited given the Bundesbank’s announcement on Monday that the country may miss full-year growth targets due to the delta variant. 

Also helping the sentiment in  European markets Tuesday were the strong gains on Wall Street overnight, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumping 1.6% to a record closing high, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (DE:22UAy).

Investors are also keeping a wary eye on the situation in Afghanistan, with leaders from the Group of Seven industrial countries set to hold a virtual meeting later Tuesday to discuss the situation.

However, the main focus this week will be on the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium that opens on Aug. 26, where further clues on the timeline for the U.S. central bank’s planning on asset tapering and interest rate hikes are expected.

In the U.K. retail sector, J Sainsbury (OTC:JSAIY) stock fell 1.7%, handing back some of Monday’s hefty gains on the back of a report that private equity firms were looking at this grocery chain. Marks & Spencer (OTC:MAKSY) stock rose 3.2% with this sector seemingly in play.  

Elsewhere, oil prices pushed higher, continuing Monday’s sharp rebound with the full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine boosting hopes that greater vaccination levels will lead to a boost in fuel demand.

Investors now await U.S. crude oil supply data from the {{ecl-656||American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day, amid expectations for a hefty fall in inventories ahead of Labor Day weekend.

By 4:15 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% higher at $66.39 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.2% to $69.19. Both contracts jumped more than 5% on Monday after recording their biggest week of losses in more than nine months last week.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,803.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower to 1.1737.