European Stocks May Open Positive

European stocks are likely to start positive as AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency supply in the UK, despite mixed Asian performance and the negative cues from Wall Street amid uncertainty about whether the U.S. Senate would approve planned increase in stimulus checks.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency supply in the UK, with the first doses being released today. The vaccinations may begin early in the New Year.

US President Donald Trump continued demanding $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks, instead of $600, and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the measure, sending the proposal to the Republican-controlled Senate for a vote.

However, Trump’s push for bigger COVID-19 relief checks was stalled in the Senate as Republicans blocked a swift vote proposed by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., blocked an effort by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to unanimously approve the House bill.

Further, the Brexit trade deal that was agreed last week reportedly has set rules for industries including fishing and agriculture, but is yet to decide on financial market. With this, Britian’s automatic access to the EU’s financial markets may come to an end on December 31.

However, investors are likely to be still hopeful for a global economic recovery next year after the signing of $900 billion pandemic aid package in the U.S. And additional $1.4 billion spending package, as well as the start of COVID-19 vaccination drives in several countries.

On the economic data front, House prices from the UK and flash consumer prices from Spain are due on Wednesday, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

IHS Markit releases Russia’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ survey data for December at 1.00 am ET; and UK Nationwide house price data is due at 2.00 am ET. House price inflation is seen rising to 6.7 percent in December from 6.5 percent in November.
Further, at 3.00 am ET, Spain’s INE publishes preliminary consumer and producer prices for December, with economists forecasting the harmonized index of consumer prices to drop 0.7 percent annually following a 0.8 percent decrease in November.

Asian stock markets are showing mixed trading Wednesday following the overnight decline on Wall Street. The Australian, New Zealand and Japansese markets traded down, while Hong Kong and Shanghai, among others, are higher.

The major European markets closed mixed on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index shot up by 1.6 percent following the long weekend.

On Wall Street, the initial gain on stocks on Tuesday that recorded new intraday highs did not sustain and closed lower on profit taking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent.

Ahead of the New Year’s day holiday on Friday, the U.S. markets will close early, at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday.

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