LONDON – European indexes are set to slide on Friday in the last trading session of 2021.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 is set to dip 30 points to 7,374, Germany’s DAX by 84 points to 15,823 and France’s CAC by 29 points to 7,140. Markets will close at lunchtime on Friday due to the New Year’s Eve celebrations and the Swiss SMI and Italy’s FTSE MIB will be shut all day.

Global investors have been looking for a Santa Claus rally to close out a year of solid returns. The FTSE and the DAX are on track to see gains of 15% for this year, while the French CAC is close to a 30% gain.

Historically, many benchmarks gain 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.

On Wall Street, stock futures were mildly lower on Thursday night ahead of the final trading day of 2021. In Asia, Hong Kong stocks led gains among major markets on Friday, with Chinese tech stocks in the city soaring.

Market players have spent recent weeks juggling concerns over new Covid restrictions and tighter central bank policy, with early studies suggesting the 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.



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