BERLIN, December 24 – European stocks posted small gains in light holiday trading today, following a recent rally in global stocks on signs that the Omicron coronavirus variant may not derail the recovery global economy.
The pan-European STOXX 600 remained stable after increasing by almost 1% in the previous session. Travel stocks led the gains among sectors, rising 0.4 percent to extend a recent rise.
London’s FTSE gained 0.4%, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.1%.
The stock markets of several countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United States are closed Friday for Christmas. The London and France stock exchanges experienced shorter trading sessions.
Most Asian markets edged up and the S&P 500 closed at a record high overnight on positive economic data and as some studies have suggested that the Omicron variant carries a lower risk of hospitalization.
Meanwhile, today Italy has tightened restrictions, including banning all public New Year’s celebrations, as daily Covid-19 infections hit an all-time high.
“The European market is moving within narrow ranges, a little biased upward, due to light holiday trading and also motivated by fears of possible restrictions and lockdowns,” said Raed Alkhedr, chief market analyst at Equiti Group.
The STOXX 600 enters the holiday season on a calm note after advancing 21 percent so far this year, following a 4 percent drop last year.
Although 2021 has been marked by accommodative fiscal stimulus and positive corporate earnings, supply bottlenecks, inflationary pressures and a new variant of Covid-19 threaten growth and recovery until in 2022.
“Santa is not starting an end-of-year party in the stock markets, but rather is referring to a ‘Santa break’ after this year’s bull run,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and of strategy at Mizuho Bank.
The benchmark index has risen nearly 2 percent so far this week.
French real estate company Icade climbed 0.6% after announcing that its healthcare real estate business had acquired four private hospital properties in Portugal for € 213 million.
Biotech firm Lysogene jumped 7.5% after signing a € 15million loan deal with the European Investment Bank to speed up its gene therapy platform.
BNP Paribas rose 1% after sources told Reuters that the French bank and US company State Street Corp were vying to buy the custody business of Spanish lender BBVA and made indicative offers for the unit. – Reuters