European stocks are rising to alleviate concerns about the Omicron variant


European stocks rose for a third day on Thursday as global markets continued to recover from the trepidation surrounding the Omicron coronavirus variant that rocked investor sentiment last month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.3 percent, and stock exchanges in London, Frankfurt and Paris also advanced. Profits followed a 0.8 percent rise on Thursday for MSCI’s broad Asia-Pacific index and a 1 percent jump overnight for the Wall Street S&P 500. The futures that accompany the S&P 500 were little changed at the start of trading in Chicago on Thursday .

Markets seemed poised to end 2021 in a gloomy note in November as concerns arose about the effects of a new, highly contagious strain of coronavirus on the global economy.

While several countries have tightened restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, “market participants already seem to have decided that the threat of a rapidly advancing Omicron variant is feasible for now,” said Bas van Geffen, a strategist at Rabobank.

This view is supported by data from South Africa, Denmark and the United Kingdom, which show that a lower proportion of people infected with Omicron are likely to require hospital treatment compared with Delta strain cases.

In Asia, China’s CSI 300 index rose 0.7 percent on Thursday, even after that country closed 13 million people in the central city of Xi’an in an attempt to slow down the virus ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Global markets have also supported ultra-convenient financial conditions, which remained light despite the US Federal Reserve and several other central banks taking a more aggressive stance this month in the fight against the rising inflation that has gripped global economies.

Still, investors expect a potentially awkward drive over the next week as trading conditions reduced on the holidays could worsen the volatility caused by the news of the virus.

In the fixed-income market, the reference yield of 10-year U.S. Treasury bills remained stable at 1.46 percent, and the German equivalent also changed slightly to minus 0.28 percent. The dollar has barely moved toward a basket of half a dozen world currencies.


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