European Shares Set To Open Higher On Vaccine Progress

stockmarkets jan17 26mar21 lt

European stocks are seen opening higher on Friday as the release of upbeat economic data in the U.S. as well as progress on vaccination roll-outs bolstered optimism about the economic outlook.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday held his first press conference since assuming office and made an ambitious pledge of administering 200 million vaccine shots in 100 days.

On China, Biden spoke about his interactions with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and said he had made it clear that the United States was not looking for confrontation, but would insist that China play by international rules for fair competition and fair trade.

He warned North Korea over escalations, but added he's open to diplomacy with the country.

Asian markets gained ground on economic recovery hopes while the dollar hovered near four-month highs.

Gold dipped on dollar strength but oil bounced back after falling as much as 4 percent on Thursday on concerns over renewed lockdowns in Europe and Asia.

Countries in Europe are renewing restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that Europe will need to improve its economic and fiscal response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Elsewhere, Mexico became the third country with more than 200,000 confirmed deaths due to Covid-19.

Business confidence figures from Germany and retail sales data from the U.K. are due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

Across the Atlantic, trading may be impacted by reaction to reports on personal income and spending and consumer sentiment.

U.S. stocks saw a late-session surge to end higher overnight as vaccine optimism outweighed rising U.S.-China tensions.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a one-year low last week and U.S. GDP was revised slightly upwards to an annualized rate of 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, adding to signs of a resurgent economy.

The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 gained half a percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.1 percent.

European stocks ended Thursday's session on a mixed note as several countries tightened Covid-19 restrictions and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at inevitably removing some of the stimulus.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended flat with a negative bias. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.6 percent, while the German DAX and France's CAC 40 index both edged up around 0.1 percent.

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