July 1, 2020 / 7:31 AM / 6 days ago

European shares kick off new quarter with subdued gains

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July 1 (Reuters) - European shares started the new quarter on a sombre tone on Wednesday, as surging U.S. coronavirus cases kept optimism in check ahead of a slew of economic data.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% by 0718 GMT, after closing out its best quarterly gains since March 2015 in the previous session.

The German DAX gained 0.7% as data showed retail sales rose sharply in May, reflecting a rebound in private consumption after the country lifted coronavirus-inflicted restrictions.

Drugs and pesticides maker Bayer jumped 3.4%, providing the biggest boost.

German unemployment and U.S. manufacturing activity and private jobs data are all due later in the session.

A cautious tone prevailed across the global markets, as the United States on Tuesday recorded its biggest single-day spike since the pandemic began, dimming hopes that the economic pain had passed.

Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant gained 6.9% as it completed the $1.6 billion sale of its masterbatches unit to PolyOne Corp, allowing the payment of a special dividend amounting to $3 per share. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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