European stocks higher ahead of key central bank meetings

Published On: December 15, 2021Categories: Stocks & Shares1.4 min read

The DAX rose 0.4%, the CAC 40 added 0.6% and the FTSE 100 jumped 0.6%

European stock markets were higher Tuesday, bouncing back from a weak start to the week as investors digested the spread of the Omicron Covid variant ahead of three key central bank meetings in Europe and the U.S.

At 0845 GMT, the DAX in Germany was 0.4% higher, the CAC 40 in France added 0.6% and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 jumped 0.6%.

Investors are firmly focusing on policy-setting meetings from a number of high profile central banks, including the Bank of England (BoE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) in Europe, but probably more importantly the U.S. Federal Reserve.

European equities weakened Monday as investors fretted about developments surrounding the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus, including the confirmation of the first U.K. death.

On Tuesday, U.K. unemployment dropped nearly 50,000 in November and the unemployment rate fell 4.2% in October, good news ahead of Thursday’s BoE meeting. Growth in employment over the last quarter slowed below expectations, however.

The BoE surprised the market by not raising interest rates last month despite high inflation, but policymakers opted for caution and are expected to do so again, given the arrival of Omicron and the imposition of new restrictions. The U.K. health agency estimates that Omicron infections are currently running at nearly 200,000 a day, far in excess of official statistics.

In corporate news, Ocado stock added 3.7% after the online grocer stated that fourth-quarter trends reflect strong momentum in underlying demand, with its best-ever Christmas ahead. Things could have been even better for the company as customers stick with online shopping, with growth held back by labour shortages. The group also said it won a patent infringement lawsuit filed by the Norwegian robotics firm AutoStore last year.

ArcelorMittal stock jumped 4.2% after the world’s largest steelmaker said it had intended to repurchase some convertible notes as part of a $395 million buyback program.

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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