European stocks traded flat Tuesday with investor focus attuned to an impending meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB), with markets cautiously hopeful of a monetary stimulus package later this week.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 pared early losses to trade 0.07% up by the close, technology stocks slipping 1.1% while the banks and oil & gas stocks both gained 2.1%.
Investors are looking ahead to an impending ECB policy decision, with markets hoping for a fresh stimulus package to be announced Thursday in a bid to boost the beleaguered euro zone economy.
Brexit is also fueling market uncertainty after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Tuesday that he would not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a new law came into force demanding that he delay Britain’s departure from the EU until January 2020 unless he can secure a new Withdrawal Agreement with the bloc.
Lawmakers early Tuesday morning rejected Johnson’s second bid to hold a snap general election. British Parliament is now suspended until October 14 with the Brexit outcome no clearer.
In corporate news, Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke said on Monday that the German lender’s overhaul was not impacting its investment banking revenue as negatively as anticipated, adding that he was “quite encouraged” by developments to date.
Domestic rival Commerzbank hit the headlines Tuesday after its office in Cologne was raided by prosecutors as part of a tax fraud investigation.
Meanwhile British Airways has seen its U.K. operations grind to a halt as a result of its first ever pilots’ strike. The airline, part of the International Airlines Group (IAG) was forced to cancel 1,700 flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports amid the standoff over pay.
However, reports that the strike had boosted air fares for rivals led IAG stock 3.9% higher, since it also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus. EasyJet stock traded 5.4% higher.
Stocks on the move
Britain’s JD Sports climbed 9.3% to top the Stoxx 600 after strong first half results, defying the weakness of the U.K. high street to raise profits.
At the other end of the European blue chip index, Just Eat shares fell 6.2% during trade, while French utility company EDF slipped 7.6% after its majority-owned nuclear reactor business Framatome found a deviation from technical standards governing the welding of some of its components used in nuclear reactors.