European shares held gains at midday on Thursday, taking a cue from Wall Street’s sixth successive positive session.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.13% in early deals after finishing flat on Wednesday. Volumes were thin as traders prepared for market closures in Italy, Germany, and Spain on Friday, while Paris and London will trade for half a session, before the New Year break.
Fears about the severity of the Covid Omicron variant have continued to fade, although case numbers globally are soaring and countries such as the UK have found themselves with testing kit shortages, despite assurances that supplies were plentiful.
US shares received a boost from better-than-expected retail sales data and unseen fall in US crude oil and gasoline inventories.
“A dearth of heavy-duty data releases globally this week continues to leave markets driven by sentiment and by sentiment, I mean omicron headlines,” said OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley.
In equity news, airline shares followed their US counterparts lower as Omicron fears caused flight cancellations. Wizz Air, Ryanair and IAG were all lower.
Siemens Gamesa rose after reaching a supply deal for wind turbines in Sweden.