European stock markets shrug off rising COVID-19 cases across the continent | FI SENSE
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a joint press conference with the European Council President at the end of the first day of a European Union (EU) summit over video conference at the European Council Building in Brussels, Belgium, March 25, 2021. Aris OIkonomou/Pool via REUTERS - RC2MIM94Y6UP

First day of EU summit over video conference at European Council Building in Brussels

On Friday despite an increase in COVID-19 cases across the continent, stocks in Europe opened higher.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) rose 0.8% after opening, while the French CAC (^FCHI) gained 0.72% and the German DAX (^GDAXI) was 0.83% higher amid vaccine optimism, in London.

Ursula von der Leyen European Commission (EC) president on Thursday said that “we’re at the start of the third wave of the pandemic.”

France government announced that the newest wave has a higher number of younger people being admitted to hospitals, due to that France extended their lockdown to three additional regions – the Nievre, Rhone and Aube areas.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also signalled that she would be declaring France a “high-risk COVID Area.”

Overnight, French president Macron said that new measures to contain the outbreak might be needed in the coming weeks, adding that “the next few weeks will be tough.”

It was announced in Poland that, nurseries and preschools would close, as the country reported a fresh record of 34,151 new cases.

Elsewhere, the Finnish government has submitted a proposal that would see temporary restrictions on movement in the worst-hit areas for 3 weeks, with people only able to leave their homes for essential reasons or outdoor recreation.

 “It has been notable this week that for all the concerns about a slowdown in Europe and a delay to an economic reopening that any dips in European stocks have been fairly shallow ones, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

“This suggests that for all of the concerns about valuations, in Europe at least the appetite for stocks is still there, despite the uncertainty around rising infection rates and the slow rollout of vaccines.”

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were up 0.45%, Dow futures (YM=F) rose 0.44%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.48% higher as trade began in Europe.

On Thursday the S&P 500 (^GSPC) advanced and small-caps rallied as President Joe Biden doubled his vaccination target.

US banks also extended gains in after-hours trading as the Federal Reserve signalled an end to pandemic-era dividend curbs.

Ten-year US Treasury yields rose slightly after another lackluster auction of seven-year notes. The reaction was muted compared with the upheaval in bonds and interest-rate sensitive stocks following poor demand at last month’s sale. The dollar dipped but remained on track for its best week in almost a month.

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