Europe stocks slightly higher as recession fears fade; Ocado shares jump 4% after e-commerce deal

European equities were slightly higher Tuesday morning as fears over a possible recession faded and investors concentrated on corporate news.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index was higher by 0.1 percent in early deals. Most major bourses and sectors were higher with oil stocks leading the gains. The price of the commodity rose on Tuesday morning amid ongoing supply cuts.

In individual stocks news, Ocado shares jumped 4.6 percent after it signed an e-commerce partnership with Australia’s Coles. Convatec shares surged 8 percent after reported interest from private equity firm EGT.

More generally, traders have been taking cues from debt markets in recent days for an indication of economic sentiment. Part of the U.S. bond yield curve — which plots yields from shortest maturity to highest — inverted on Friday, with the 10-year yield dipping below the yield on the 3-month paper for the first time since mid-2007. A yield curve inversion is generally seen as a sign that a recession is coming.

On Monday, the yield on the 10-year note fell to its lowest level since December 2017 — but it was a different story on Tuesday, with the 10-year yield rising to about 2.439 percent.

Elsewhere, investors monitored the latest Brexit developments. U.K. lawmakers voted to seize control of the Brexit process on Monday evening, taking it away from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

An amendment was passed that allows lawmakers to set a timetable for debate and subsequent votes — expected to take place on Wednesday — on alternative outcomes for the EU withdrawal deal.

In other political news, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited France on Monday. The two countries signed 15 commercial deals, including a 300-plane order with Airbus and a 1 billion euro ($ 1.1 billion) deal for EDF to build an offshore wind farm in China.

In terms of economic data, French figures confirmed GDP growth of 0.3 percent in the final three months of last year. Meaning the economy grew 1.6 percent over the course of 2018. Another survey released Tuesday morning showed French industrial morale unexpectedly fell in March.

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