European equities mixed, Asia slips on omicron worries


TOKYO – European benchmarks opened mixed with London’s FTSE 100 hitting a nearly two-year high after Asian stocks mostly ended lower.

The French CAC 40 rose 0.1% early in the session to 7,190.22, while the German DAX slipped 0.2% to 15,935.45. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.1% to 7,449.16 – its highest level since February 2020, amid optimism that the omicron coronavirus variant may prove milder than earlier versions virus.

US stocks are expected to drift higher with Dow futures gaining 0.1% to 36,329.00. S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% to 4,788.25.

In Asian trading, the Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% to close at 28,906.88. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9% to 2,993.29, while Australia’s S & P / ASX 200 jumped 1.2% to 7,509.80. The Hong Kong Hang Seng was down 0.8% to 23,086.54, and the Shanghai Composite was down 0.9% to 3,597.00.

Although Asia has relatively few reported cases of infection with the omicron variant compared to the United States and Europe, there are growing concerns that omicron will spread quickly once it is launched. The vaccination rate is around 80% in Japan, but the booster shots have barely started.

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“The broadest point is that no matter how the ‘variable risks’ play out, the process of COVID tunnel emergence will be charged with more heat than light,” meaning issues such as ” barriers to unfettered global travel, “which will hamper any recovery, said Mizuho Bank’s Vishnu Varathan in a report.

Much is still unclear about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some locations. the variant is quickly becoming the dominant variety in the world.

While virus-related lockdowns and travel restrictions remain a big concern, most major investors have closed their positions for 2021 and are expected to hold on until next week.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude gained 18 cents to $ 76.16 a barrel from $ 75.98. Brent crude, the international standard, added 28 cents to $ 79.22 a barrel.

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In currency trading, the US dollar rose from 114.81 yen to 114.97 Japanese yen. The euro cost $ 1.1279, compared to $ 1.1310.

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