European Stock Futures Higher; Vaccine Rollout Eyed

European Stock Futures Higher; Vaccine Rollout Eyed

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are seen opening higher Monday, with investors banking on the rollout of vaccines to help stimulate economic growth in a region hit hard by the Covid-19 virus.

At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.9% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.8% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.8%.

Britain is set Monday to become the first country to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) and Oxford University, a cheaper and more easily stored alternative to the vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), which is already in use.

This will become another step forward in the global response to the pandemic, hopefully shortening the time before some form of herd immunity can be achieved and economies across the globe can reopen.

At the same time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that he may have to impose tighter restrictions as Covid-19 cases soar in his country, while Germany is likely to extend its national restrictions beyond Jan. 10 to curb infection rates that are still running high.

It’s not only in Europe where coronavirus problems exist. Cases remain very high in the U.S., and in Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga confirmed the government was considering a state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.

Still, there was some good news Monday, as the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for December came in at 53.0. Although below November’s 54.9, this reading indicated the Chinese manufacturing sector is still expanding.

The equivalent December manufacturing PMI data for the European countries are due later Monday, and are expected to show growth here as well.

In corporate news, Entain, the parent company of U.K. bookmakers Ladbrokes (LON:LCL) and Coral, is expected to open sharply higher after rebuffing a bid from MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) International over the weekend, saying it "significantly undervalues" the company. The corporate sector is otherwise largely quiet as the new year starts, but investors will be keeping a wary eye on Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia for two Senate seats that will determine whether the Republican Party keeps control of this branch of the U.S. government.

Oil prices climbed on expectations that a group of the world’s top producers will agree to continue to curb output next month at a meeting later in the day amid worries about demand growth as the Covid-19 pandemic rages.

OPEC and associated producers including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, decided at a meeting last month to raise output by just 500,000 barrels per day in January, still more than 7 million barrels a day below peak levels.

U.S. crude futures traded 2.1% higher at $49.51 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 2.2% to $52.92.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 1.7% to $1,927.05/oz, while EUR/USD traded 1% higher at 1.2256.

Original Article

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