UK, European Shares Fall in Quiet Trade, Led Down by Travel, Leisure Stocks
U.K. and European stocks fall in quiet trade on the final day of 2021, with U.K. markets due to close at 1230 GMT and many European markets–including in Germany and Italy–closed for a public holiday. Equities trim recent gains which have seen the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rise to a near two-year high and the Stoxx Europe 600 reach a six-week high. Optimism that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 isn’t as severe as previous strains and won’t require harsh restrictions has helped sentiment recently. However, the very rapid rise in cases is a cause for concern and has led to flight cancellations, as well as disruptions to hospitality and trains. Travel and leisure stocks are among the main fallers. The FTSE 100 falls 0.3%, while the Stoxx Europe 600 falls 0.1% and France’s CAC 40 loses 0.4%.
Copper Rebounds With Focus on Peruvian Mine
Copper prices are whipsawed on the last trading day of the year amid uncertainty about whether a major Peruvian mine will resume operations. Three-month copper on the LME is up 1.2% at $9,727 a metric ton. Prices slumped late on Thursday after reports that the Las Bambas mine had reached a deal with protesting locals who had blocked access to the site. Prices rebound sharply Friday as doubts set in that the deal will hold. Some demands from the protesters are still outstanding, according to Reuters. A similar deal was reached in October but the blockade resumed when negotiations later stalled. Trading volumes have also been thinned by the holiday period, which can typically exacerbate price swings.
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December 31, 2021 06:20 ET (11:20 GMT)
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