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Europe Stocks Close Slightly Higher as Traders Monitor Data; BHP Up 3%

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  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed higher Tuesday, but gains were capped as traders digested a slew of fresh economic data.
  • Investors also monitored the potential geopolitical implications following the Taliban's seizure of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.
  • BHP climbed 3.4% after announcing plans to leave London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index and make Australia its primary stock market.

LONDON — European markets closed slightly higher Tuesday, eking out minor gains after snapping a 10-day winning streak in the previous session.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended Tuesday's session up 0.1%, but gains were capped as traders digested a slew of fresh economic data. Health stocks were the best performers, up 1%, while autos sank 1.8% to lead losses.

On Wall Street, the major stock indexes sank Tuesday after data showed U.S. retail sales declining 1.1% in July, a steeper drop than the 0.3% dip expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and spread of the highly transmissible delta Covid-19 variant has rattled investor sentiment lately.

Investors are also monitoring the potential geopolitical implications following the Taliban's seizure of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.

U.S. President Joe Biden rejected blame for the scenes of turmoil and panic as thousands of people were seen at a Kabul airport desperately trying to flee.

BHP to leave FTSE 100

Back in Europe, U.K. jobs data showed the number of employees on British company payrolls rose month-on-month by 182,000 in July. The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics said the headline unemployment rate for the second quarter came in at 4.7%, slightly lower than economists polled by Reuters had anticipated.

The European statistics office on Tuesday said data showed the euro zone economy expanded 2% in the second quarter, reaffirming an earlier reading. Employment in the bloc rose 0.5% on a quarterly basis in the three months through June, Eurostat said. This was in line with forecasts of economists polled by Reuters.

Looking at individual stocks, BHP Group climbed 3.4% after announcing plans to leave London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index and make Australia its primary stock market. The Anglo-Australian mining firm had been under pressure from investors including activist shareholder Elliott Advisors to simplify its listing structure.

Meanwhile, British media company Future sank 4.4% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after announcing a deal to buy "The Week" magazine publisher Dennis Publishing for £300 million ($412.3 million).

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