Omicron Covid variant, bitcoin volatility watched

LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Monday as investors continue to monitor developments around the omicron Covid variant and bitcoin volatility.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 56 points higher at 7,165, Germany’s DAX 136 points higher at 15,259, France’s CAC 40 up 72 points at 6,815 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 199 points higher at 26,107, according to data from IG.

European markets are set for a positive start to the trading week although the picture is more mixed at a global level.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific dropped on Monday as investors monitored bitcoin prices after they fell sharply over the weekend. Meanwhile, oil prices jumped during early Asia trade, rising more than 2% in Asia trading hours after mostly falling last week on Covid uncertainty and the OPEC+ plan to increase output in January.

Stateside, stock futures were higher even after a losing week on Wall Street as investors ditched equities amid concerns over the new omicron Covid variant and the Federal Reserve’s move to tighten policy. At least 15 U.S. states have detected the omicron coronavirus variant now.

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The heavy selling in technology stocks last Friday extended to cryptocurrencies with bitcoin prices volatile throughout the weekend. Bitcoin traded around $57,000 on Friday morning, but by Saturday had fallen to around $43,000. By Sunday the world’s largest cryptocurrency had recovered some of its losses, but it still traded below the key $50,000 level; it is currently trading around $49,058.

Data releases in Europe on Monday include German industrial orders in October, the euro zone sentix index for December and a first estimate of Greece’s gross domestic product in the third quarter.

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— CNBC’s Pippa Stevens and Weizhen Tan contributed to this market report.


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