LONDON — European stocks are expected to start the new trading week far higher, despite extensive concerns over the newly discovered omicron Covid variant.
The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 97 points higher at 7,137, Germany’s DAX 191 points higher at 15,437, France’s CAC 40 up 99 points at 6,824 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 324 points at 26,167, according to data from IG.
European markets are set to soar at the open despite pressing concerns about the omicron variant that the World Health Organization labeled as a “variant of concern” last Friday.
While scientists continue to research the variant, omicron’s large number of mutations has raised alarm. Preliminary evidence suggests the strain has an increased risk of reinfection, according to the WHO.
The variant has been found in the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia and Hong Kong, but not yet in the U.S. Many countries, including the U.S., moved to restrict travel from southern Africa.
Vaccine makers have announced measures to investigate omicron with testing already underway. While it remains to be seen how omicron responds to current vaccines or whether new formulations are required, Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could roll out a reformulated vaccine against the omicron variant early next year.
U.S. stock futures moved higher in overnight trading Sunday following Friday’s big sell-off as investors look ahead to key economic data set to be released this week, including the November jobs report on Friday which is expected to show solid jobs growth. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 581,000 jobs added in November.
Elsewhere, shares in Asia-Pacific largely fell in Monday trade as markets struggled to regain confidence after the WHO announcement last Friday, when the Nikkei 225 in Japan and Hang Seng index in Hong Kong both fell more than 2% following the news.
Oil prices were higher during Asia trading hours, after dropping as much as 13% on Friday, its worst day this year.
Key data releases in Europe on Monday include euro zone business climate and economic sentiment data for November, flash inflation data for Spain and Germany in November.
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— CNBC’s Hannah Miao and Eustance Huang contributed reporting to this story.