The European rally is over

The brief rally in European markets came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday, as two days of gains ended, and red numbers prevailed on stock boards across the continent.

At the close across Europe, all but one major index was in the red, although falls were limited, and no single index dropped more than 0.9%.

The FTSE 100, Britain’s flagship index was the only major bourse to end the day in the positive, and at the close was up by 0.72% to 5,866 points.

The FTSE was helped higher by the likes of Rolls-Royce and Merlin Entertainments, although no individual stock gained more than 3% on the day. British stocks were also buoyed a little by the release of inflation figures for January, which met economist’s forecasts at 0.3%.

While the FTSE gained, the biggest loser was the DAX in Germany, which dropped 0.83% to 9,130 points, pushed down by the release of a ZEW survey showing that economic sentiment is at a 16-month low in the country. Here’s how that looked at the close:

Things weren’t much better for the rest of Europe’s biggest economies on Tuesday. Here’s the scoreboard:

  • Italy’s FTSE MIB — down 0.42%
  • France’s CAC 40 — down 0.05%
  • Eurostoxx 50 — down 0.49%
  • The Netherlands’ AEX — down 0.16%
  • Spain’s IBEX 35 — down 0.52%

One driver of the European fall was oil’s return to losses on Tuesday as the markets reacted poorly to news that while Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations agreed to freeze oil production, they have decided not to cut, something that had widely been expected early this morning.

At the European close Brent, the European benchmark was 3.11% in the red, trading at $32.35, while West Texas Intermediate had dropped off to $29.10, a fall of 1.2%.

Maybe the last couple of days were just a dead-cat bounce.

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