European shares kick off new quarter with subdued gains
European shares started the new quarter on a somber tone on Wednesday, as surging U.S. coronavirus cases kept optimism in check ahead of a slew of economic data.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% by 0718 GMT, after closing out its best quarterly gains since March 2015 in the previous session.
The German DAX .GDAXI gained 0.7% as data showed retail sales rose sharply in May, reflecting a rebound in private consumption after the country lifted coronavirus-inflicted restrictions.
Drugs and pesticides maker Bayer (BAYGn.DE) jumped 3.4%, providing the biggest boost.
German unemployment and U.S. manufacturing activity and private jobs data are all due later in the session.
A cautious tone prevailed across the global markets, as the United States on Tuesday recorded its biggest single-day spike since the pandemic began, dimming hopes that the economic pain had passed.
Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant (CLN.S) gained 6.9% as it completed the $1.6 billion sale of its masterbatches unit to PolyOne Corp (POL.N), allowing the payment of a special dividend amounting to $3 per share.