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European stocks inch higher with earnings and oil prices in focus

European markets opened slightly higher Tuesday as investors react to falling oil prices and a host of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged 0.15% higher at the start of trading, insurance and media stocks each gaining 0.7% while the oil and gas sector slid by 0.9%.

Global oil markets are focused on oil prices that continue to fall as the coronavirus has demand global demand for oil, sending prices tumbling.

Oil prices slid 12% during overnight trading, extending Monday’s nearly 25% decline amid ongoing fears that storage around the world is rapidly filling.

Asia stocks have also been reacting to the oil price declines overnight with markets remaining flat. 

In corporate news, HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, said on Tuesday that it’s pretax profit fell 48% year over year to $3.229 billion in the first quarter of 2020, while revenue dropped by 5% to $13.686 billion.

The coronavirus pandemic remains the key news feature for markets. More than 3 million people are now reported to have been infected by the coronavirus around the world and over 210,800 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.  Follow our live updates on the pandemic here.

Earnings in Europe are also impacting sentiment, with reports from BP, Santander, UBS, Novartis and Carrefour, among others on Tuesday. On the data front, French consumer confidence data for April is due, as well as Spain’s first-quarter unemployment rate.

– Pippa Stevens, Eustance Huang and Yen Nee Lee contributed reporting to this story.

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