European stocks climb on Omicron hope, oil rebounds

File: A security guard stands beside the logo for the London Stock Exchange Group outside the stock exchange in London. AFP/Tolga Akmen

LONDON - European equities advanced on hopes that the Omicron coronavirus variant might not be as damaging as initially feared, traders said.

Oil rebounded after crude giant Saudi Aramco lifted the prices it charges Asian and US customers, in a sign of confidence in the Covid-sapped energy demand outlook.

London equities gained 0.8 percent in late morning deals, despite this week's reintroduction of tighter UK air travel curbs due to Omicron.

Frankfurt won 0.3 percent and Paris added 0.7 percent in afternoon eurozone trade.

- 'Riding Omicron hopes' -

"The (UK) travel industry may have been buffeted by yet another chill wind of more testing requirements, but airlines and hotel groups are riding higher amid hopes the new Omicron variant may not provoke more serious illness," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

Global stocks had sunk Friday on weak US payrolls data -- and heightened Covid concerns that continue to linger.

Asia faced a mixed performance on Monday, but was also roiled by struggling Chinese tech firms.

"Markets remain beset by uncertainty as the spread of the Omicron variant threatens to derail the general economic recovery," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

The Omicron variant has been detected across the globe but no deaths have yet been reported, with authorities worldwide racing to determine how contagious it is and how effective existing vaccines are.

Top US pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday that while more information was needed, preliminary data on the severity of the Omicron variant are "a bit encouraging."


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