Most markets are closed for Christmas Holiday, Omicron still in focus

With most markets closed form Christmas holiday, liquidity is thin in the markets. Omicron concerns remain in focus. US stocks continued trading higher with data released on Thursday showing that that sustained inflationary pressures in the US were not enough to upset the broader optimism, as a growing body of evidence is suggesting that Omicron variant of Covid-19 is less likely to lead to serious illness. Most trading has stopped for the Christmas holiday, but some markets remain formally open.

US stocks finished higher on Friday with S&P 500 reaching a new record closing level. Dow Jones increased by 0.6% to 35,951, S&P 500 Index rose 0.6% to 4,725 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9% to 15,652. Despite the ongoing concerns around omicron, inflation and interest rates, some upbeat economic reports boosted stocks, as jobless claims remain near pre-pandemic lows, durable goods orders were well above forecasts and consumer sentiment was revised higher. Treasuries were lower as the yield on the 2-year note was up 3 basis points at 0.69% and the yield on the 10-year note increased 4 bps to 1.49%. US Dollar ticked lower with DXY with losing 0.01% to 96.06. US markets are closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday.

European stock futures are trading lower early Friday, consolidating on the growing hopes of a quick end to the pandemic. Many markets in Europe are closed today, including Germany, Spain and Italy. Markets are open for half the day in the UK, France, Poland and Benelux countries. FTSE 100 futures traded 0.3% lower, while French CAC futures lost 0.1%. This was largely due to a negative handover from Asia, where China has introduced one of the tightest lockdowns in Xian. In corporate news, UK Babcock International said it has completed the sale of the UK power business for 50 million pounds. Carmat, French maker of heart implants, will be in focus today, after it said it has identified a problem with its prostheses. Carmat stock has fallen nearly 40% from its peak earlier this year. Euro is trading flat at $1.1322 and pound is slightly higher at 1.3410

Most Asian share markets edged higher on Friday with MSCI broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.2% and Japan’s Nikkei inching 0.1% higher. Some markets, however, fell on tighter measures to contain the spread of Omicron. Chinese Blue chips slipped 0.32% a day after rising infections in the Xian resulted in a lockdown of its 13 million residents.

Brent Crude snapped its three-day rally on Friday in light trade sliding 0.5% to $76.46 following a 2.1% gain in the previous session. It is still up 4% on the week. Oil prices have recovered this week as fears over the impact of highly infections Omicron variant on the global economy receded. The market is focusing on the next step by OPEC+ and the impact of the Omicron variant.