European stock markets closed mixed on Tuesday as investors digested US inflation data which fell to the slowest pace since January as the gauge for used vehicles fell into contraction territory and airline fares plunged amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat with a negative bias, while the FTSE 100 Index in the UK was down 0.5% and the French CAC closed 0.6% lower. The German DAX was up 0.1%, and the Swiss Market Index ticked up 0.2%.
The European Union and the US agreed to cut human-caused methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, Reuters reported, citing a draft of the Global Methane Pledge seen by the news outlet. Methane is considered the biggest cause of climate change next to carbon dioxide. The two economic regions reportedly intend to convince major emitters including China, Russia, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, along with Norway, Qatar, the UK, New Zealand and South Africa to join the pledge.
The UK government will delay the introduction of some import controls on goods from the European Union, citing the need to give businesses more time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic's impact. Under the revised timetable, the import controls will be implemented in phases across 2022. Full customs declarations and controls will be imposed, as planned, on Jan. 1.
The UK's unemployment rate stood at 4.6% in three months to July, down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. The latest reading, which reflects the labor market's continuing recovery, was in line with market estimates.
Average total pay in the UK, including bonuses, grew 8.3% for the three months from May to July, up from 7.4% growth in the preceding three-month period, the Office for National Statistics reported. The current three-month reading also exceeded the estimated 6.8% growth in average total pay.
The Bank of France said it expects the real gross domestic product to increase 6.3% in 2021, revised upward from its June projection of 5.75% to reflect the slightly stronger-than-anticipated recovery at the end of the first half. The central bank forecasts economic growth of 3.7% in 2022 before returning to 1.9% in 2023. Meanwhile, the French economy is expected to return to its pre-COVID-19 level at the end of 2021.
On the corporate front, JD Sports Fashion (JD.L) was up nearly 10% after it said it expects at least 750 million British pounds ($1.04 billion) in headline pretax profit for the full fiscal year, following a surge in its first-half attributable profit amid comparatively weak retail footfall in many countries. On the earnings front, the company's profit attributable to equity holders of the parent for the fiscal first half rose to 0.22 pound per share, compared with 0.04 pound in the prior-year period. Revenue for the 26 weeks ended July 31 rose to 3.89 billion pounds from 2.54 billion pounds in the prior year.