European markets open higher amid holiday-thinned trade


LONDON – European stocks opened higher on Tuesday as holiday-thinned trade continues in the region.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was trading 0.3% higher after markets opened with all sectors in positive territory.

European markets were slightly higher in a holiday-thinned trading session on Monday with many markets still closed due to the Christmas festivities. Markets in the U.K. and Ireland remain closed on Tuesday.

U.S. markets re-opened on Monday after the Christmas holiday with indexes seeing positive momentum; the S&P 500 gained nearly 1.4% to close at 4,791.19, marking its 69th record close of the year. The index also hit an intraday record for the first time in more than a month.

Investors are looking for a Santa Claus rally to close out a year in which the S&P 500 has returned more than 27%. The benchmark index historically gains during the Santa Claus rally — the final five trading days of the current year and the first two of the new year. The period began Monday.

Market players have spent recent weeks juggling concerns over new Covid restrictions and tighter central bank policy with early studies suggesting omicron strain of the virus is milder than previous variants like delta.

New studies in South Africa and the U.K. last week suggested omicron has a reduced risk of hospitalization and severe illness. In the U.K. at the end of last week, infections were still topping 100,000, while France has also reported cases above that figure for the first time.

Data releases in Europe include Spanish retail sales for November.

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— CNBC’s Matt Clinch contributed to this market report.

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