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European Stock Futures Lower on Lockdown Concerns; Turkey Also in Focus

Stock Markets1 hour ago (Mar 22, 2021 03:02AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are seen opening lower Monday, weighed by plans for further lockdowns to combat a third wave of Covid-19 cases, while investors also watch events in Turkey closely.

At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.6% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.3%.

Germany is the latest European country to consider extending restrictive measures, with a draft proposal calling for the current lockdown to be extended into a fifth month. The number of new Covid-19 cases has surged since restrictions were eased three weeks ago.

The Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said the number of cases per 100,000 population over a week stood at 103.9 on Sunday, above the 100 threshold at which intensive care units will start running out of capacity. France, Europe’s second-largest economy, announced new lockdown measures late last week, resulting in a month-long lockdown in 16 areas of the country, including Paris.

Adding to the worries, confidence in the safety of AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN)’s vaccine has taken a big hit in Spain, Germany, France and Italy, according to a YouGov survey published Monday, after these countries briefly stopped using it on reports of rare blood clots. The European Medicines Agency regulator said in a preliminary safety review on Thursday that the vaccine was safe and effective. AstraZeneca released data from its U.S. trial earlier, showing that its vaccine was 79% effective in preventing the disease, and 100% successful in preventing hospitalization and death across a sample of 30,000 volunteers.

A European Union summit due to take place later this week in Brussels will now be held via video conference.

Also of interest will be events in Turkey following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s surprise decision over the weekend to replace the hawkish central bank governor Naci Agbal with Sahap Kavcioglu.

The move came two days after a sharp rate hike aimed at controlling inflation near 16% and supporting the lira, and has since seen the Turkish currency weaken almost 12% against the dollar, the sharpest move since August 2018.

In the corporate sector, the battle between Suez (PA:SEVI) and Veolia Environnement (PA:VIE) over how to carve up Suez’s business took another turn on Sunday, with investment funds Ardian and Global Infrastructure Partners offering 11.9 billion euros ($14.2 billion) for parts of Suez’s business.

Earnings are due from Kingfisher (LON:KGF), while Julius Baer (SIX:BAER) and Lonza (SIX:LONN) both publish annual reports.

Also in focus will be mining stocks, after new anti-pollution measures in China sent iron ore futures tumblling.

Oil prices edged lower Monday, continuing the recent selloff as the fresh lockdowns in Europe increased worries about the speed of recovery of global demand for the commodity.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% lower at $60.91 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.9% to $63.97. Both contracts fell by more than 6% last week.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.8% to $1,728.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1875.

European Stock Futures Lower on Lockdown Concerns; Turkey Also in Focus

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