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Thursday, February 22, 2024

European markets pause for breath amid Trump impeachment and Biden’s stimulus plan

European markets on Thursday continued their trend this week of making modest moves as investors turned their focus from the second impeachment of Donald Trump, making him the only US president to be impeached twice, to focusing on signs of president-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus proposals.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) opened higher 0.1% in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) gained 0.2% in Frankfurt, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) was flat in Paris.

US futures were quiet. The S&P(ES=F) was up 0.2%. Dow Jones (YM=F) gained 0.3% and the Nasdaq (NQ=F) slid lower 0.1%.

“Though we await the details, we know that Biden has previously said he’s in favour of sending $2,000 [£1,464] cheques, and a readout of a call last week between Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer, said that Biden was in favour of ‘additional immediate economic relief for families and small businesses, funding for COVID-19 response, including vaccinations, testing, school reopening, and state and local frontline workers’,” said Deutsche Bank in an analyst note.

On Wednesday, 10 House Republicans voted in favour of impeaching Trump, including the third highest ranking member of the party, Liz Cheaney.

Of the four presidential impeachment votes that have taken place in US history, Wednesday’s received the most bipartisan support. This follows the attack last week at the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters who were protesting his election loss. Trump is accused of inciting the violence, which led to the impeachment calls.

COVID-19 also remains in focus, as UK prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs on the liaison committee on Wednesday that the country was “taking steps” to keep out cases of a coronavirus variant discovered in Brazil.

He added that he was “concerned” about the variant, which has already been picked up by Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases. This follows news Tokyo was expanding its state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Europe is placing additional restrictions to deal with higher cases, including Switzerland announcing the closure of non-essential shops and non-essential gatherings being limited to five people, excluding children.

Japanese stocks surged to a new three-decade peak as investors focused on a global growth rebound.

Asian markets were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 0.9% at market close, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) leapt up 0.9% and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) fell 0.9% at market close. South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) headed higher 0.1%.

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