Markets

European Markets Muted as Investors Monitor Omicron Risk

Tolga Akmen | AFP via Getty Images
  • Global markets have endured a volatile week thus far, and European shares rebounded 1.4% on Tuesday to retrace much of the loss accrued during a sharp sell-off in the previous session.
  • Investors are juggling the rapid spread of the omicron variant, and the introduction of containment measures by governments around the world, with new scientific analysis of its severity and pharmaceutical developments on booster shots and treatments.

LONDON — European markets were little changed on Wednesday as investors continue to monitor the threat posed by the omicron Covid-19 variant.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 traded up 0.7%, with technology stocks climbing 1.5% to lead gains while utilities slipped 0.1%.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 120 points. The S&P 500 climbed 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1% Trading is expected to be thin for the remainder of the week ahead of the holidays.

Global markets have endured a volatile week thus far, and European shares rebounded 1.4% on Tuesday to retrace much of the loss accrued during a sharp sell-off in the previous session.

Investors are juggling the rapid spread of the omicron variant, and the introduction of containment measures by governments around the world, with new scientific analysis of its severity and pharmaceutical developments on booster shots and treatments.

AstraZeneca on Tuesday became the latest company to announce that it had begun work, alongside Oxford University, on an omicron-specific vaccine. Moderna has announced that a third dose of its mRNA vaccine appears to provide significant protection against the variant.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that new social restrictions will be introduced before New Year's Eve, including limiting private gatherings among vaccinated people to a maximum of 10.

Britain on Tuesday pledged £1 billion ($1.3 billion) to businesses hit by the new Covid-19 variant, with the country's hospitality sector and others once again under strain.

On the data front, U.K. GDP grew 1.1% in the third quarter, final readings confirmed Wednesday, slightly below the 1.3% expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, shares of Delivery Hero added 7.4% after the German meal kit delivery company announced that it would scale back its German operations and sell off its Japanese unit in the first quarter of 2022.

At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Sweden's Lundin Energy fell 11.4% after agreeing the $14 billion sale of its oil and gas business to Norway's Aker BP.

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