European stocks close lower in thin holiday trading

The DAX chart of the German stock index is pictured on the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany on December 22, 2021. REUTERS / Staff

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  • Christmas holidays slow down trade volumes
  • Markets in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain closed
  • The STOXX 600 registers a weekly increase of 2%

December 24 (Reuters) – European stocks closed lower in light holiday trading on Friday, following a recent rally in global stocks on signs that the Omicron coronavirus variant may not derail the global economic recovery .

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) slipped 0.1% to 483.01 in a shortened trading session before Christmas. The benchmark added 1.9% this week.

London’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE) closed flat, while France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI) ended down 0.3%. The stock markets of several countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United States are closed Friday for Christmas.

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Most Asian markets edged up and the S&P 500 closed at a record high overnight on positive economic data and as some studies have suggested that the Omicron variant carries a lower risk of hospitalization. Read more

“The European market is moving within narrow ranges… due to light holiday trading and also motivated by fears of possible restrictions and blockages,” said Raed Alkhedr, chief market analyst at Equiti Group.

Italy tightened restrictions on Thursday, including banning all public New Year’s celebrations, as daily COVID-19 infections hit an all-time high. Read more

The STOXX 600 enters the holiday season on a calm note after advancing 21% so far this year. Although 2021 has been marked by accommodative policies and positive corporate earnings, supply bottlenecks, inflationary pressures and a new variant of COVID-19 threaten growth and recovery through 2022.

“Santa is not starting an end-of-year party in the stock markets, but rather is referring to a ‘Santa break’ after this year’s bull run,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and of strategy at Mizuho Bank.

French property company Icade (ICAD.PA) rose 0.3% after announcing that its healthcare real estate business had acquired four private hospital properties in Portugal for 213 million euros.

Biotech firm Lysogene (LYS.PA) jumped 9.1% after signing a € 15 million loan deal with the European Investment Bank to speed up its gene therapy platform.

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Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bangalore; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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