European stock markets were tracking higher midday Tuesday, with broad-market indices pushed north by strength in finance, tech and oil issues. Swiss financial giant UBS is higher after reporting strong Q4 profits. Weak cues from Asia and Wall Street futures markets were shrugged off.
In economic news, the UK unemployment rate hit 5.0% in the three months to November as the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on workplaces. It was the highest UK unemployment rate since 2016.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the broad-gauge Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up 0.8% mid-session, on modest but broad-based rallies in the major sectors.
On the sector metrics, the Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index rose 0.4%, while the Stoxx 600 Bank Index was up 0.6%. The Stoxx Europe Oil & Gas Index was up 0.4%. The Stoxx Europe REIT Index inclined 0.4%.
Among national indices, the FTSE 100 in London was up 0.7%, Germany's DAX was up 1.5%, and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 1.0%. Spain's IBEX 35 was up 1.0%.
Front-month Brent crude futures rose 0.5% to $56.17 a barrel.
The Euro Stoxx 50 volatility index was down 8.7% to 23.75, indicating above-average volatility for European stock markets in the next 30 days. The index had dipped below 20 on last Thursday, a positive signal, but has been tracking modestly higher on the pandemic outlook. Above the 20-mark on the index indicates above-average volatility ahead, while below 20 suggests expectations for calmer markets.