European shares traded higher Tuesday as investors continued to monitor political developments in the continent.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.2% in morning trade, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
Looking at individual stocks, Umicore rose toward the top of the European benchmark after announcing the acquisition of cobalt refinery in Finland. The company’s share price rose 2% in early trade.
In corporate news, Scandinavian Airlines reported heavy losses in its interim second-quarter report. The firm said its results were hit by a pilot strike and rising jet fuel prices. Shares fell nearly 4% shortly after the opening bell.
EU election results
Investors in Europe continued to digest results from the EU Parliament elections, which concluded Sunday. Results showed pro-EU parties still managed to hold onto a majority of seats, albeit with Euroskeptic and nationalist parties also gaining momentum.
Experts saw the vote as largely positive, as an uptick in support for Europhile parties like the Liberals and Parties means the European project may not be under threat. The rise in support for populists was less detrimental than previously feared, analysts said.
Meanwhile, developments in global trade were also in focus, as President Donald Trump concluded a state visit to Japan. The U.S. leader on Monday said he saw a trade with Japan as likely and hoped to announce more on trade talks with the country soon.
The same could not be said for China, however, as Trump said his administration was “not ready” to make a trade deal with Beijing. Both sides have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s imports, while talks between the two over resolving their dispute broke down earlier this month.
Elsewhere, Brexit will no doubt be a talking point for investors Tuesday, with U.K. markets beginning the week behind peers due to a public holiday on Monday.
Prime Minister Theresa May said last week she would resigned on June 7, a move that opened up the path for a new U.K. premier, with Brexiteer Boris Johnson currently the favorite to win a leadership contest.
Britain has until October 31 to reach a Brexit agreement that satisfies Parliament. But its political landscape is in disarray after the two main parties were both beaten in EU elections by Nigel Farage’s populist Brexit Party.
Meanwhile, an indicator of German consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in two years. The GfK consumer sentiment indicator for June hit a worse-than-expected reading of 10.1 points.