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European markets head for positive open despite Covid headwinds

LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Thursday as investors continue to monitor the Covid crisis in the region and political developments in Germany.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 18 points higher at 7,303, Germany’s DAX 59 points higher at 15,955, France’s CAC 40 up 30 points at 7,078 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 154 points higher at 27,233, according to data from IG.

Investors will be digesting the latest news out of Germany where a new coalition government deal between the Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats was announced on Wednesday.

The agreement will see Olaf Scholz, Germany’s former finance minister, become Germany’s new chancellor when Angela Merkel leaves the post in early December.

European investors continue to monitor the acute Covid crisis in the region this week amid rising infections that have prompted a handful of countries to introduce new Covid restrictions.

Italy announced Wednesday evening that it will introduce tighter Covid measures and Germany has narrowly avoided another lockdown with the incoming coalition reportedly wanting to wait and see if tighter Covid passport rules help to alleviate rising cases there. Nonetheless, incoming German leader Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that vaccinations are to be made compulsory for targeted groups.

Overnight in Asia-Pacific markets, shares were mixed as investors reacted to the Bank of Korea’s decision to raise its policy rate to 1%. The South Korean central bank’s decision followed a similar move by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday.

U.S. markets are closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early on Friday in a shortened session.

On the data front, a detailed picture of Germany’s third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) will be released and the December reading of Germany’s GfK consumer sentiment barometer is due.

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