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Stock markets: EURO STOXX 50 dips lower as Omicron cases surge

By Indrabati Lahiri

13:30, 8 December 2021

Stock chart showing a downward trend
The recent rise of Omicron cases across the UK and Europe has reignited investor anxieties – Photo: Shutterstock

European stocks inched lower on Wednesday, with the EURO STOXX 50 Index falling as investors anticipated crucial US inflation data for November, due to be released later in the week. Investors were also concerned over the sudden surge of Omicron cases, which has led to increasing pressure on booster shots to be rolled out sooner than planned.

UK stocks touched an almost four-week high on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 Index extending its gains from the last trading session, buoyed by China’s recent pledge to provide more support to its struggling sectors by loosening monetary policy further. This resulted in commodity prices such as copper rising.

Overnight in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained as well, as did the US S&P 500 Index.


36,260.80 Price
+0.920% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 11.0


4,596.80 Price
+0.710% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 1.7


16,908.50 Price
-0.760% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0261%
Short position overnight fee 0.0042%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 30.0


16,001.20 Price
+0.470% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 7.0

What’s interesting today: Man Group announced a share buyback program of approximately $250m (£190m). Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey CEO, announced that he was stepping down after more than 14 years at the company.

Image of stocks chart Stocks chart – Credit: TradingView

Why are European stocks down today?

Omicron cases surge: Investors were worried about the sudden rise of Omicron cases in the last couple of days, even after the variant was declared to be milder than previously thought by health experts.

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  • What this means: The last few days have been a rollercoaster for global stock markets with the discovery of the Omicron variant, which initially caused widespread panic and mass sell-offs. Although the variant was initially labelled as one of concern by the World Health Organization, due to its numerous mutations, health experts later reported its symptoms to be relatively mild, which went a long way in easing investor concerns about its impact on stock markets. However, the recent surge of cases across the UK and Europe has reignited investor anxieties, especially in regard to the variant’s resistance to vaccinations.

Stock markets: key highlights

  • The FTSE 100 Index inched up 0.25% to touch 7358.0 points by Wednesday mid-morning
  • The EURO STOXX 50 Index dipped 0.24% to touch 4266.0 points
  • Germany’s DAX Index fell 0.38% to reach 15754.4 points
  • France’s CAC 40 Index edged up 0.015 to 7066.2 points
  • The leading sectors were consumer durables and finance, whereas technology services and retail trade lagged behind
  • US S&P 500 futures inched up 0.44% to $4705.75.

Market sentiment

  • The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, a measure of expected fluctuations in US stocks, fell to 21.35
  • The US Dollar Index dropped to $96.37
  • The US 10-Year Bond Yield Index also inched down to 1.482%.

Top stock gainers: UK and Europe

  • The best-performing companies in the UK were International Consolidated Airlines Group, BT Group and Berkeley Group Holdings
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group extended its gains following its recent announcement of purchasing sustainable aviation fuel from Velocys
  • BT Group recently increased its market capitalisation by £1.4bn
  • Berkeley Group Holdings increased its guidance after robust interim performance
  • The top stock gainers in Europe were ASML NV, Prosus and Adyen B.V. Parts Sociales
  • Prosus shares rallied following its assistive tech startups in India being well received by clients and investors alike.

Top stock losers: UK and Europe

Stocks news: what you need to know today

  • Indian shares rally following RBI’s lenient policy stance
  • McColl’s shares rise in spite of difficult year for the group
  • Game Workshop’s shares drop by approximately 8%
  • Valneva stock inches up on the back of Bahrain agreement.

Read more: Lloyds share price forecast: Can it return to pre-Covid levels?

Markets in this article

636.70 USD
13.9 +2.240%
31.20 USD
-0.2 -0.640%
BT Group PLC
1.2375 USD
0.0055 +0.450%
BT Group PLC
1.2375 USD
0.0055 +0.450%
Volatility Index
13.26 USD
-0.02 -0.150%

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The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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