Trade remained mixed across Europe on Tuesday with a number of small moves, despite major FTSE 100 companies beating profit outlooks in their quarterly results.
HSBC posted a 79% rise in pre-tax profit of $5.78bn (£4.1bn) for the first quarter of 2021, up from $3.21bn a year ago. Despite the good results, the bank still said that there is a “a high degree of uncertainty.”
Higher oil prices helped support BP's outlook — the oil major said it would start buying back shares in Q2.
"We’re into the meat of earnings season proper now with 173 S&P 500 companies that account for around half the market capitalisation are reporting this week," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com.
"So far so good: of those that have already reported, revenues are up 10% on average, while earnings are up by a third. A stunning turnaround from last year’s pandemic washout, driven by a combination of massive fiscal stimulus, extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy and a vaccine-led cyclical bounce back of epic proportions."
Across the world, new lockdowns in Turkey and the worsening COVID-19 situation in India could shake investors' confidence. Oil prices retreated on Monday on the prospect of fresh restrictions in India — one of the world's biggest importers of the commodity.
Watch: BP profit soars on strong oil, gas trading
Over in the US the Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day meeting on Tuesday, which investors will be expecting to pass with little fanfare.
Asian stocks mainly retreated overnight. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.2%, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) dipped 0.1%. Japan's Nikkei (^N225) fell 0.5% following a day of strong gains on Monday.
Reactions were muted following the Bank of Japan announcing it would hold interest rates at -0.1% overnight.
Watch: India sets COVID-19 case records; US promises to help