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European Markets Close Mixed as Investors Focus on Coronavirus, U.S. Politics

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  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed just a touch above the flatline Tuesday, with autos stocks adding 1.7% while utilities shares dropped 1.5%.
  • President-elect Joe Biden pledged Friday a hefty economic stimulus rollout, which he said will be "in the trillions of dollars."
  • Rising Covid-19 infections in Europe are dominating investor concerns, although there is some optimism amid a mass vaccine rollout.

LONDON — European stocks closed mixed on Tuesday as investors remain focused on the latest coronavirus developments and the state of U.S. politics.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed just a touch above the flatline Tuesday, with autos stocks adding 1.7% while utilities shares dropped 1.5%.

An increase in the number of coronavirus cases being seen worldwide is weighing on sentiment. Investor focus also remains fixed on coronavirus news and political events Stateside; House Democrats on Monday introduced an article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump for inciting the mob attack at the Capitol last week. The lower chamber plans to vote on the article sometime this week.

Investors are also weighing up the prospect for additional U.S. fiscal stimulus after a Democratic sweep of Congress. President-elect Joe Biden pledged Friday a hefty economic stimulus rollout, which he said will be "in the trillions of dollars." More details will follow in a formal announcement on Thursday, six days before he is slated to take office. The need for further stimulus was underscored by an unexpected job loss in December.

U.S. stocks traded along the flatline on Tuesday as traders weighed rising interest rates and a potential economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In terms of individual share price movement Tuesday, Swiss online pharmacy Zur Rose Group surged 14.9% after Bank of America initiated the stock at a "buy" recommendation.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Games Workshop dropped 6.7% after weak first-half results while Temenos slid 4.5% after Credit Suisse downgraded the Swiss banking software firm's stock to "underperform."

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