European Shares Set To Open On Cautious Note

European stocks are likely to open lower on Thursday as investors fret about rising Covid-19 cases and the prospect of extensions of current lockdown measures.

New York City public schools are closing and returning to remote learning for all 1.1 million students, signaling that a second wave of the coronavirus has arrived.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a month-long stop to social gatherings, gyms and indoor service at bars and restaurants as the virus spread spiked to a record high.

U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico are expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until Dec. 21 amid a rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases.

The drag from new U.S. restrictions was amplified by the total lack of progress on a fiscal stimulus bill, with New York Federal Williams warning that a loss of fiscal support could slow economy in the coming months.

Speculation is now rife that that the Federal Reserve would expand its asset-buying campaign at a December policy meeting.

Meanwhile, Congress and the White House have until Dec. 11 to approve new spending legislation to prevent the federal government from shutting down.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that he was hopeful an agreement would be reached but “can’t guarantee” the federal government will avoid a shutdown.

Asian markets remain mostly lower as investors fretted over the deteriorating economic outlook due to virus spread.

Bonds were underpinned and the dollar steadied after slipping for five sessions in a row as two Fed officials held out the option of doing more to support the recovery.

Oil prices eased after rising overnight in reaction to a smaller than expected increase in U.S. crude inventories last week and amid expectations that OPEC+ will extend its current production cuts further into 2021, or even increase the cuts.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in the red overnight as a number of states announced new restrictions to help tame surging coronavirus cases, overshadowing positive housing data and more upbeat Covid-19 vaccine news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 lost around 1.2 percent each while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.8 percent.

European markets rebounded from early losses to end higher on Wednesday after positive updates about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.4 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index both rose about half a percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.3 percent.

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