By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets are seen opening mixed Tuesday, as investors digest signs of strong global growth while the region attempts to ramp up its Covid-19 vaccination program/
Germany will have immunized 20% of its population against the novel coronavirus by the beginning of May, the country’s health minister Jens Spahn said on Monday, doubling the number of people with the jab in a month after taking three months to immunize the first 10%.
Germany, the largest country in the European Union, has been forced into a fresh lockdown to combat a rise in infections as it has lagged the likes of Britain and the United States in the pace of vaccinations.
France reported over the weekend a rise in patients in intensive care units for Covid-19 to the highest levels in five months, as it too entered its third national lockdown. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated meanwhile that the lifting of restrictions on international travel may be pushed back beyond the current target date of May 17.
However, the news isn’t all bad. Johnson reiterated his plans to ease England’s lockdown next week, with the likes of hairdressers, gyms and pubs reopening, while Portugal also allowed cafe and restaurant terraces, museums, middle schools and gyms to start trading again on Monday.
Mobility restrictions in Europe are set to delay the region’s economic recovery, but growth signals are more positive in both the U.S. and China, the two largest economies in the world.
Overnight, the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 54.3 in March, the highest since December, from 51.5 in February, indicating that the recovery in China’s services sector picked up speed. This follows Friday’s impressive U.S. jobs report suggesting that the American economic rebound gained momentum.
In corporate news, Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) said Tuesday it was replacing senior managers, halting its share buyback program and slashing its 2020 dividend in the wake of the Archegos and Greensill fiascos.
The luxury sector could also be in the spotlight after Dolce & Gabbana’s CEO denied in an interview published Tuesday that the Italian fashion company was in talks with French group Kering (PA:PRTP) over a possible tie-up. The luxury market has taken a big hit during the pandemic, raising the possibility of mergers within the sector, although the early reopening of China has lifted names like LVMH (PA:LVMH) and Christian Dior (PA:DIOR) to all-time highs in recent weeks.
Oil prices edged higher Tuesday, paring some of Monday’s hefty losses, but concerns still exist about the prospect of producers returning significant amounts of crude to the market over the next three months.
Late last week the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, announced it was bringing back 350,000 barrels per day of supply in May, another 350,000 barrels in June and a further 400,000 barrels in July. Saudi Arabia is also set to phase out its extra voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day during this period.
European Stock Futures Mixed as Credit Suisse Culls Management