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Omicron worries spur 2% slide in European shares By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The graphic of the German stock index DAX is shown on December 17, 2021 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. REUTERS / employees

By Anisha Sircar

(Reuters) – European stocks fell more than 2% on Monday amid a global stock sell-off, with investors worried about the specter of tighter pandemic restrictions hitting the global economy if the Omicron COVID-19 variant cases rose.

The Pan-European lost 2.2% to its lowest level in more than two weeks.

Travel, oil and auto stocks saw declines with losses of more than 3% with all major subsectors in the red.

“The speed at which the virus is growing heightened fears that governments will put in place tighter restrictions that could restrict movement and hamper economic activity,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The Netherlands imposed a lockdown on Sunday, while the prospect of stricter COVID-19 measures ahead of the Christmas and New Years holidays in several European countries, given the rapid spread of Omicron.

Madden added that the lower liquidity in the last weeks of December could also lead to the tightened movements.

The STOXX 600 rallied last week after the European Central Bank promised further economic support and the US Federal Reserve announced in March a long-awaited end to its pandemic-era stimulus packages while at the same time offering optimistic outlooks.

Meanwhile, futures tracking the US stock benchmark slipped 1.8% after US Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, supported President Joe Biden’s hopes of a $ 1.75 trillion domestic investment bill What matters is said on Sunday that he will not support the package.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE 🙂 cut its forecast for real US GDP for the first quarter of 2022 to 2%, down from 3% previously and cut its forecasts for the second and third quarters slightly.

Argenx shares rose 8.2% to top the benchmark after the Belgian group reached a regulatory milestone for its receptor blocker.

Worst, however, was Novo Nordisk (NYSE :), which fell 10.8% after the Danish drug maker announced it could not meet demand for its new anti-obesity drug due to delivery problems in the US.

BNP Paribas (OTC 🙂 lost 0.6% after the French lender agreed to sell its US unit Bank of the West to Canadian BMO Financial Group for around $ 16.3 billion.

Swedish company BillerudKorsnas lost 6.9% after it announced it would buy US coated paper maker Verso (NYSE 🙂 for around $ 825 million in cash as the pulp and paper maker plans to expand into North America.

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