BUSINESS Europe stocks waver after new UK lockdown

BUSINESS

Europe stocks waver after new UK lockdown

AFP

17:02, January 05, 2021

Europe's stock markets wavered on Tuesday, with London rising despite a new lockdown aimed at curbing a rampant variant strain of coronavirus.

In early morning trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies advanced 0.4 percent to 6,598.77 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index flatlined, while the Paris CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent to 5,582.44 to erase initial slender gains.

England's six-week lockdown, which began at midnight, emulates the first national coronavirus curbs in place from March to June -- but goes further than another instituted in November when schools remained open.

Authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all taken similar measures, putting the UK as a whole in lockdown.

Governments worldwide have tightened or prolonged lockdown restrictions in recent months to combat the worsening global health crisis.

"The mood has soured somewhat as a result of the national lockdowns which are once again coming into force or being extended," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

"This was maybe inevitable anyway as a result of the festivities taking place in the midst of an already severe wave of Covid-19 but the new variant has thrown another spanner in the works.

"While stocks are making (some) small gains today, the mood may sour further if these lockdowns do not bring the virus back under control soon.

"The upside compared to last year is that there are now multiple vaccines being rolled out so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- but that does not mean we can’t see significant economic damage in the interim."

Britain -- one of the worst-affected countries by the global health crisis, with over 75,000 deaths -- has been pinning its hopes on its mass vaccination drive.

However, more than 50,000 positive cases were recorded across Britain every day for the last week, sparking calls for the government to do more.

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