Europe stocks close mixed as investors monitor Iran protests; Steinhoff up 9%

European markets closed mixed on Tuesday afternoon, as investors continued to monitor geopolitical unrest in Iran.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed lower, down by 0.2 percent, with most sectors in negative territory and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

Automotive stocks were among the negative performers Tuesday, down 0.1 percent amid weaker-than-expected car registrations data. Schaeffler sank to the bottom of both the sector and the Stoxx 600, down almost 5 percent.

Looking at individual stocks, advertising firm Publicis Groupe fell toward the bottom of the pan-European index, after Macquarie downgraded the stock from “outperform” to “neutral.” Shares of the company dipped almost 3 percent.

Elsewhere, embattled South African retailer Steinhoff said Tuesday that it may have to restate its accounts “for years prior to 2015.” Steinhoff’s stock dipped significantly in 2017 due to an accounting scandal. Shares of the Frankfurt-listed firm surged to the top of the European benchmark Tuesday, up more than 9 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average opened 100 points higher.

Global sentiment was supported by news that North Korea had adopted an unusually

conciliatory tone with South Korea. In his annual New Year’s Day address, leader Kim Jong Un said he wished for a “peaceful resolution” with Seoul.

Elsewhere, Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said, as security forces struggled to contain the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009.

U.K. manufacturing data released by IHS Markit showed a slight slowdown in December from the previous month. The research firm’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell to 56.3 in December from 58.2 in November, missing expectations. Source: CNBC

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