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European stocks trade higher on signs of hope regarding the omicron

European stocks rise on omicron optimism

December 24, 2021: -European stocks traded slightly higher Thursday morning as traders saw signs that the omicron coronavirus variant is not that severe previously feared.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index opened up 0.2%, with travel and leisure shares increased 1.7% to lead the gains between optimism over Covid.

Airline stocks were from the top performers, with British Airways parent company IAG and Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air up about 3%.

Investors reacted to a study of South Africa where the omicron strain was first discovered, suggesting a reduced risk of hospitalization and severe disease compared to the delta.

The study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, found people diagnosed with omicron in South Africa from October 1 to November 3 were 80% less likely to be hospitalized than if they caught another variant in the same period.

Experts say it is still too early to know for sure the severity of omicron, but the study offers hope that both the human and economic cost of the strain will not be as severe as initially feared. Omicron’s rapid spread has led governments worldwide to reimplement some Covid restrictions in a bid to contain it.

On Wednesday, more good news arrived as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized an antiviral Covid pill from Pfizer for people aged 12 and above at risk of serious illness.

These glimmers of hope have boosted global share markets. In Asia, stocks increased Thursday, and stateside, stock futures were trading slightly higher.

Investors digested data showing that U.S. consumer confidence peaked in December, despite fears over omicron.

In Europe, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi suggested he would be willing to become the president of the country, saying his government had laid the foundations for crucial work to continue.

On Wednesday, in corporate news, Ryanair said it was more than doubling its forecast for full-year losses, citing the emergence of travel restrictions in several significant markets because of the coronavirus. Ryanair

Looking at individual stocks, United Internet sunk of Germany toward the bottom of the Stoxx 600 Thursday, down 1.6% after news that CEO Ralph Dommermuth is increased his firm’s equity ownership to 50.1%, but it would not make a voluntary acquisition offer to shareholders.

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