European stocks close lower in thin holiday trade

European stocks open flat in thin holiday trade
European stocks open flat in thin holiday trade   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Anisha Sircar</p> <p> -European shares closed lower in light holiday trading on Friday, following a recent rally in global shares on signs the Omicron coronavirus variant may not derail global economic recovery.</p> <p>The pan-European <span class="caps">STOXX</span> 600 index slipped 0.1% to 483.01 in a shortened trading session ahead of Christmas. The benchmark has added 1.9% this week.</p> <p>London’s <span class="caps">FTSE</span> 100 closed flat, while France’s <span class="caps">CAC</span> 40 ended 0.3% lower. Stock markets in several countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. are closed on Friday for Christmas. </p> <p>Most Asian markets edged higher and the S&P 500 closed at a record high overnight on positive economic data and as some studies suggested the Omicron variant carries a lower risk of hospitalisation.</p> <p>“The European market is moving in tight ranges … due to light holiday trading and also driven by fears of possible restrictions and lockdowns,” said Raed Alkhedr, chief market analyst at Equiti Group.</p> <p>Italy on Thursday tightened restrictions, including banning all public New Year’s Eve celebrations as daily <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 infections hit a record high.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">STOXX</span> 600 is entering the holiday period on a quiet note after rallying 21% so far this year. Though 2021 was marked by accommodative policies and positive corporate earnings, supply bottlenecks, inflationary pressures and a new <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 variant threaten growth and recovery into 2022.</p> <p>“Santa Claus isn’t starting a year end cheer-leading party in equity markets, but rather evoking a ‘Santa pause’ after this year’s bull run,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said.</p> <p>French real estate firm Icade climbed 0.3% after announcing its healthcare property business acquired four private hospital properties in Portugal for 213 million euros.</p> <p>Biotech firm Lysogene jumped 9.1% after entering a 15-million-euro loan agreement with the European Investment Bank to accelerate its gene therapy platform.</p> </div>