Dec 24, 2021 05:26AM ET
European equities posted modest gains in light holiday trading on Friday, following the recent rally in global equity markets on signs that the Omicron coronavirus may not derail the global economic recovery.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was unchanged, having gained almost 1% in the previous session. Among sectors, travel stocks led the gains with a 0.4% gain, continuing their recent upward trend.
London's FTSE rose 0.4%, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.1%.
Stock markets in several countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the US, are closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday. Stock exchanges in London and France recorded shorter trading hours.
The S&P 500 hit a new high overnight after positive economic data, and some studies suggested that the Omicron variety has a lower risk of hospitalization.
Meanwhile, Italy tightened restrictions on Thursday, including a ban on all public New Year's Eve celebrations, as daily COVID-19 infections hit a record high.
The STOXX 600 enters the holidays on a quiet note, having risen 21% so far this year after falling 4% last year.
Although 2021 has been characterized by accommodative fiscal stimulus and positive corporate earnings, supply constraints, inflationary pressures, and a new COVID-19 variant threaten growth and recovery in 2022.
The benchmark index has gained almost 2% so far this week.
French real estate company Icade climbed 0.6% after announcing that its healthcare real estate division had acquired four private hospital properties in Portugal for €213 million.
Biotech Company Lysogene rose 7.5% after signing a €15 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank to accelerate its gene therapy platform.
1% after sources told the Reuters news agency that the French bank was competing with US firm State Street Corp for the custody business of Spanish lender BBVA and had made indicative offers for the unit.