Europe stock markets step higher, as PMI data rolls in

European stocks inched higher on Tuesday, with advances in the mining and financial sectors raising the prospect of a second day of gains for the market.

The Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.6% to 342.45. The pan-European benchmark on Monday closed 0.1% higher, with losses for commodity shares keeping the gain in check.

But Tuesday’s session saw a rise in shares of iron ore mining heavyweight BHP Billiton PLC, whose shares climbed 3% after a ratings upgrade to buy from hold at Jefferies.

Also among top gainers, Italy’s UniCredit SpA gained 2.6%. The move came after a Reuters report that PZU, Poland’s largest insurer, is talking to the bank about buying Poland’s second-largest bank, Bank Pekao SA, from UniCredit.

Economic data: At 9 a.m. London time, or 4 a.m. Eastern Time, investors will receive preliminary, or flash, reading on eurozone manufacturing and services activity data for August. Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for the manufacturing index to come in at 52 and the services index to come in at 52.8.

“The July PMI readings were left relatively unscathed by the result of the U.K. referendum but are worth watching again this month for any indication of spillover,” said Sue Trinh, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets, in a month.

She added that a composite index reading above 51.5 “would suggest that the euro area was on course for a pace of expansion in [the third quarter] on par with [the second quarter’s] 0.3%.”

The euro bought $1.1348 ahead of the data, compared with $1.1327 late Monday in New York.

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In a report released ahead of the eurozone data, a preliminary, or “flash” reading on France’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for August showed a drop to a two-month low of 48.5. But the flash composite PMI for the month hit a 10-month high of 51.6. A reading above 50 signifies expansion.

A preliminary reading of Germany’s composite PMI showed a fall to a two-month low of 54.4 in August. The manufacturing PMI dropped to 53.6, missing analysts’ expectations, while the services PMI slid to a 15-month low of 53.3.

Indexes: Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.3% to 10,520.05, and France’s CAC 40 picked up 0.4% at 4,405.85.

Italy’s FTSE MIB moved up 0.8% at 16,496.50, while Spain’s IBEX 35 rose 0.5% to 8,508.10. The U.K’s FTSE 100 moved up 0.6% to 6,858.98.

Source: MarketWatch