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European Markets Close Higher as Oil and Gas Stocks Lead Gains; Uniper Shares Fall 27%

Andrew Kelly | Reuters
  • Oil and gas stocks jumped 4.1% to lead gains in Europe as most sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.
  • As U.S. markets are closed for the July Fourth public holiday on Monday, trading volumes were expected to be much thinner.
  • Uniper plummeted 27% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after reports that the German government is weighing a state bailout of the utilities firm.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Monday, wrapping up a quieter day for global markets given the July Fourth holiday in the United States.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally closed up by 0.6%, with oil and gas stocks jumping 4.1% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory. Tech stocks bucked the upward trend to fall 1%.

In terms of individual share price movement, oil and gas firms Harbour Energy, Shell and BP all rose nearly 5% to lead the European blue-chip index amid a broad rally for energy stocks.

At the opposite end, Uniper tanked over 27% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after reports that the German government is weighing a state bailout of the utilities firm to stem the impact of Russia reducing gas supplies to Europe.

Global markets are settling in to trading in the second half of the year after the first half — dominated by concerns over inflation, the war in Ukraine and the potential for a global recession — ended last week.

There are signs markets in Asia are struggling for direction. Overnight, Hong Kong stocks fell as Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Monday ahead of Australia and Malaysia central bank decisions this week.

As U.S. markets are closed for the July Fourth public holiday on Monday, trading volumes are expected to be much thinner. Last Friday, U.S. stocks rose at the start of the new quarter after the S&P 500 closed out its worst first-half performance in decades.

Central bank action returns to the fore this week. The Bank of England publishes its latest biannual Financial Stability Report on Tuesday, before the U.S. Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday and the European Central Bank publishes accounts of its latest monetary policy discussion on Thursday.

The Frankfurt Euro Finance Summit got underway Monday, with ECB Vice-President Luis de Guindos and Deutsche Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel among the key speakers.

In terms of data, euro zone producer prices for May rose 0.7% from April and 36.3% year-over-year, slightly less than expected by economists.

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