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Investors monitor data and virus news

European stocks gave up early gains on Wednesday morning as investors monitor economic data and fears of a coronavirus resurgence.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.1% below the flatline by late morning, with autos dropping 1.3% to lead losses while health care stocks climbed 0.7%.

However, German stocks were affected by technical issues on the Xetra trading platform, which operates the DAX index, causing volumes to lag the rest of the continent at the start of the session.

Market participants in Europe will be digesting the latest indication of an economic recovery in China Wednesday after a private survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity in June growing more than expected. 

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) came in at 51.2 in June, above expectations of a reading of 50.5 by analysts in a Reuters poll. Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly edged higher in Wednesday afternoon trade. 

PMI readings above the 50-level signify expansion on a monthly basis, while those below that figure represent contraction. The official manufacturing PMI released Tuesday also showed factory activity in China expanding in June.

Back in Europe, Germany’s manufacturing contraction eased in June, with the final IHS Markit PMI on Wednesday coming in at 45.2, exceeding a flash estimate of 44.6 and up from 36.6 in May. Any reading below 50 signals a contraction. Manufacturing comprises around one-fifth of Europe’s largest economy. 

Figures from Germany’s Federal Labour Office showed the country’s jobless total rising by 69,000 in June, slowing from the 237,000 recorded in May.

Coronavirus developments are also at the forefront of investors’ minds. On Tuesday, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has the potential to become a pandemic, according to scientists.

In the U.S., New York is cracking down further on travelers heading to the state from regions where hotspots are seeing steep increases in new Covid-19 cases. There have now been more than 10.45 million global cases of coronavirus, and the virus has caused at least 510,632 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In terms of individual share price action in Europe, Swiss chemicals company Clariant climbed 7.8% by late morning after announcing the sale of its Masterbatches business. At the other end of the Stoxx 600, cruise operator Carnival slid 5% lower.

– CNBC’s Huileng Tan and Eustance Huang contributed reporting to this story.

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