On Monday, global stock markets climbed, while oil prices fell, as investors celebrated strong holiday sales in the US and some even became less fearful of the economic impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Nonetheless, gold prices also rose to their highest level in over a week over fears that the pandemic could have a serious impact on economic growth, even though a firmer US dollar involved a lot of pressure. A survey from Mastercard Inc. showed a substantial increase in retail sales during the holiday season in the US. This gave investor optimism a boost, along with Wall Street, as a gauge of stocks lifted all over the globe by nearly 0.70%.
The earlier weaknesses that had been recorded in Asian markets were offset by gains in their European counterparts. Some investors gained confidence that global economic recovery would pick up pace in the coming year, even though the Omicron variant prompted airline carriers in the US to delay or cancel thousands of flights because of staff shortages. Likewise, a number of cruise ships were also forced to cancel stops because of the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases aboard. As far as the Asian market is concerned, China recorded its highest daily increase in local coronavirus cases in the last 21 months.
Xian, a northwestern city, is the latest hotspot in China, which saw its cases almost double. There was a special meeting of the government in France, which could result in fresh restrictions after the European country reached another infection record. There was a 0.1% increase in spot gold, as it reached a value of $1,808.97 per ounce. The main stock indexes on Wall Street recorded their fourth consecutive session of gains after reports suggested last week that the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus may not be as deadly as the previous variants of COVID-19.
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Market experts said that there would still be COVID uncertainties as we head into 2022, but the good news from WHO is that the pandemic might end in the next year. However, the markets would have to contend with other issues next year, which include geopolitical risks, policy tightening and inflationary pressures. In addition, markets could also be more volatile because of thin trading volumes just after the New Year. Nonetheless, December’s last five trading days and the first two trading days of January have always been good for US stocks in 75% of the cases since 1945.
There was a 0.63% increase in the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which brought it to its highest level within a month. This was due to a rise in defensive sectors, whereas Japan’s Nikkei fell by 0.4%. There was also a weakening in shares of mainland China, with a 0.4% decline in Shanghai’s benchmark and a 0.1% fall in a blue-chip index. However, property stocks saw a boost in China, after the country’s central bank vowed that they would promote the real estate market. Britain, Hong Kong, and Australian markets were closed on Monday.
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