Stocks rebound on Omicron hopes, oil rallies
European and US equities rebounded Monday on hopes that the Omicron coronavirus variant might not be as damaging as initially feared.
Oil shot higher after crude giant Saudi Aramco lifted the prices it charges Asian and US customers, in a sign of confidence in the Covid-sapped energy demand outlook.
London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 1.5 percent, despite this week’s reintroduction of tighter UK air travel curbs due to Omicron.
Frankfurt won 1.4 percent and Paris climbed 1.5 percent.
Wall Street also had a strong day, with the Dow piling on nearly 650 points to 35,227.03, up 1.9 percent.
“It’s been a positive start to the week for the FTSE100, and European markets more generally, as concerns over the Omicron variant continue to diminish on further evidence of mild symptoms and so far, no deaths reported because of getting the virus,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
– ‘Riding Omicron hopes’ –
Global stocks had sunk Friday on weak US payrolls data, heightened Covid-19 fears and unease over shifting Federal Reserve policy.
Asia faced a mixed performance on Monday, but was also roiled by struggling Chinese tech firms.
“Markets remain beset by uncertainty as the spread of the Omicron variant threatens to derail the general economic recovery,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
The Omicron variant has been detected across the globe but no deaths have yet been reported, with authorities worldwide racing to determine how contagious it is and how effective existing vaccines are.
Top US pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday that while more information was needed, preliminary data on the severity of the Omicron variant is “a bit encouraging.”
– Tech slumps –
Hong Kong stocks slid Monday as last week’s news that Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing would start the process of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange sent shares in tech firms tumbling.
The move comes in the wake of a sweeping Chinese regulatory crackdown over the past year that has clipped the wings of major internet firms wielding huge influence on consumers’ lives — including Alibaba and Tencent.
Shares on the Hang Seng Tech index, which represents the 30 largest tech companies in the southern Chinese city, slumped sharply on Monday.
Piling on the woes in Hong Kong was continued uncertainty over the future of the Chinese property market, after developer Evergrande warned that in light of its current liquidity situation, there was “no guarantee that the group will have sufficient funds to continue to perform its financial obligations.”
The property giant’s shares sunk by up to 20 percent Monday on the news, Bloomberg reported.
– Key figures around 2115 GMT –
New York – Dow: UP 1.9 percent at 35,227.03 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 1.2 percent at 4,591.67 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 15,225.15 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.5 percent at 7,232.28 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX: UP 1.4 percent at 15,380.79 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.5 percent at 6,865.78 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.4 percent at 4,137.11 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.8 percent at 23,349.38 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,589.31 (close)
Brent North Sea crude: UP 4.6 percent at $73.08 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 4.9 percent to $69.49
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1288 from $1.1315 at 2200 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 113.46 yen from 112.80 yen
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3264 from $1.3236
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.04 pence from 85.49 pence