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Markets begin 2022 on a high note

PARIS: Stock markets rose Monday on the first trading day of 2022 following stellar performances last year, as investors keep an eye on the coronavirus pandemic, inflation and looming central bank rate decisions.

The CAC 40 index in Paris kicked off with a new record while Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.9 percent in in thin holiday trading.

Wall Street also opened on the up side, with both the Dow and S&P 500 sitting near record high levels.

Markets in Asia mostly finished higher.

London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Wellington and Bangkok were closed for holidays.

Global stocks enjoyed blockbuster rallies in 2021 as economies reopened and lives in most countries returned to some semblance of normal, fuelling optimism that the recovery would stay on track.

The markets had ups and downs, however, as investors nervously monitored the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, supply chain problems, inflation records and the possible early withdrawal of central bank stimulus programmes to tame runaway prices.

But they got off to a strong start in 2022 so far.

“Welcome to 2022, which is looking like 2021 so far for the equity market,” said market analyst Patrick O’Hare at

He added the market “looks as if it will keep riding the rails with the help of new inflows that are typically seen on the first trading day of a new month.”

And despite the relentless onslaught of news about the spread of the Omicron variant, some analysts see investors looking through the headlines.

“While the rising Omicron spreads may warrant a cautious approach toward reopening, some expectations may be that improved vaccinations will aid to limit the eventual economic impact,” said Jun Rong Yeap, market strategist at IG Asia.

France has announced an easing of Covid restrictions from Monday and Britain’s health minister said curbs were an “absolute last resort”, as governments face tough choices between controlling the virus and keeping economies open.

High prices also remain a problem across the world, with Turkey reporting on Monday its highest inflation rate in 19 years in December as the country faces a currency crisis.

In Asia, data showed factory activity picked up last month across the region — including in South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines — providing a little optimism to start the year.

The readings come after China posted a better-than-forecast figure on Friday thanks to a dip in commodity prices.

Hong Kong reversed morning gains to end in the red, with tech firms a major drag, while sentiment was also hurt by news that trading in embattled developer China Evergrande had been suspended, providing a reminder of the crisis in China’s vast property sector.

– Omicron’s crude effect –

Oil prices slid as eyes turn to the latest meeting of OPEC and other major producers on Tuesday, where they will discuss plans to lift output in light of the impact of Omicron, which has forced some governments to impose lockdowns and airlines to cancel flights.

“I think OPEC+’s decision is a foregone conclusion and Omicron news and data will remain the major influence on oil sentiment,” Vandana Hari, of Vanda Insights, said.

Meanwhile, OPEC appointed Kuwaiti oil executive and former diplomat Haitham al-Ghais as its new secretary general from August.

– Key figures around 1330 GMT –

New York – DOW: UP 0.2 percent at 36,409.61 points
Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.9 percent at 16,032.56
Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.0 percent at 7,226.24
Euro STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 4,335.98
London – FTSE 100: Closed for public holiday
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.5 percent at 23,274.75 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for public holiday
Shanghai – Composite: Closed for public holiday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1329 from $1.1370 late Friday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3477 from $1.3526
Euro/pound: UP at 84.06 pence from 84.04
Dollar/yen: UP at 115.26 yen from 115.11 yen
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.0 percent at $74.44 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.8 percent at $77.20 per barrel | YouTube Channel

Zeeshan Akbar

Zeeshan Akbar, who holds a degree in Media Sciences, is associated with since 2015