March 28, 2023

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On Friday, the European stock markets ended the week on a cautious note, due to concerns over the highly-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine, even though the tone did receive a boost from the strong Chinese data. There was a 0.1% increase in Germany’s DAX futures contract by 0700 GMT and a similar increase was also seen in the CAC 40 in France. The FTSE 100 index in the United Kingdom, on the other hand, remained largely flat. While global stock markets have experienced strong gains after the announcement of potential coronavirus vaccines, but there have also been doubts about the effectiveness of the results of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

The company’s COVID-19 medication had been regarded as the ideal candidate for helping the developing world in getting rid of the pandemic due to its ease of transportation and storage and inexpensive cost. However, these doubts could stand in the way of the vaccine getting a quick regulatory approval in the UK and from the European Union. The doubts were further raised when chief executive at AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot said on Thursday that the company was planning on running a global vaccine trial. 

Moreover, Matt Hancock, the Health Minister in the UK, also disclosed the final details of a regional system, which will be put into effect when blanket restrictions placed on the 55 million population in England come to an end after a month of lockdown. Nearly half of the country’s population would still have to live with quite tough restrictions, as the virus is continuing to claim lives on a regular basis and cases continue to surge. Wall Street reopened on Friday after a holiday on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but trading volumes remained on the low side initially. Nonetheless, the world stocks are still having their best month for now, as market spirits remain on the high side.

As far as corporate news is concerned, all eyes will be on Unilever because the consumer goods manufacturer will be trading in Amsterdam for the last time. This will put an end to 90 years that it has operated as a hybrid company because its British and Dutch corporate arms will be merged over the weekend into one legal organization based in London. Friday, oil prices fell, as they came down from an eight-month high, as trading was light because of the U.S. holiday and traders were keeping their eye on the meeting of major oil producers scheduled for next week. 

Referred to as OPEC+, OPEC and its allies are mostly expected to maintain the existing gap in supply, instead of raising it by 2 million a day in January, as was agreed previously. However, as crude prices have risen recently, it is not a universal opinion within the group. There was a 1.7% decline in US trade futures, while a 0.3% slump was also noted in the international benchmark Brent. Both of these benchmarks have experienced a growth of 6% this week. Elsewhere, there was a 0.1% increase in gold futures, while the EUR/USD pair also rose by 0.1%. 

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