European stocks trades higher despite backdrop of U.S. unrest

European stocks traded higher Tuesday against a backdrop of unrest and violence in the U.S. as protests continue over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by police last week.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.6% by mid-afternoon trade as the reopening of economies and hopes for a global recovery continued to drive market sentiment. Auto stocks jumped 4.3% to lead gains as all sectors except health care remained in positive territory.

British property developer Hammerson soared 36% after announcing that its sites will reopen from June 15. Luxembourg real estate company Aroundtown climbed 13.2% after the resolution of a share buyback. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shares added more than 12% as retail stores continue to open up.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies Sartorius and Biomerieux both fell 5%.