European stocks end higher amid flurry of economic data

European stocks ended the first day of February in the green, continuing their rally from Monday, as investors closely watched economic data from the region.

The French CAC increased by 1.4%, the Stoxx Europe 600 and the Swiss Market Index each increased by 1.1%. The FTSE 100 in the UK and the DAX in Germany climbed 1%.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the euro zone fell to 7% in December, from 7.1% in November and 8.2% a year earlier, according to Eurostat data. The latest figure beat a forecast of 7.1%.

Britain’s latest seasonally adjusted manufacturing PMI fell slightly to 57.3 in January from 57.9 in December, IHS Markit said. The latest reading exceeded the flash estimate of 56.9.

Swiss consumer confidence in Switzerland fell to the negative side in the first quarter of 2022 as rising prices weighed on buying habits. The Secretary of State for the Economy said sentiment fell to minus 3.6 points in the quarter, from 3.5 points in the fourth quarter of 2021. The figure is close to the long-term average of minus 5 points.

On the corporate front, UBS (UBSG.SW) rose more than 8% after posting a 14% jump in full-year 2021 net profit and said it plans to buy up to to $6 billion in shares between 2022 and 2024. Net income attributable to shareholders totaled $7.46 billion, or $2.06 per share, compared to $6.56 billion, or $1.77 per share, the previous year. Analysts compiled by Visible Alpha had expected net profit of $7.33 billion, or $2.03 per share.

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