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European markets set to soar at the open despite global concern over omicron variant

LONDON — European stocks are expected to start the new trading week far higher, despite extensive concerns over the newly discovered omicron Covid variant.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 97 points higher at 7,137, Germany’s DAX 191 points higher at 15,437, France’s CAC 40 up 99 points at 6,824 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 324 points at 26,167, according to data from IG.

European markets are set to soar at the open despite pressing concerns about the omicron variant that the World Health Organization labeled as a “variant of concern” last Friday.

While scientists continue to research the variant, omicron’s large number of mutations has raised alarm. Preliminary evidence suggests the strain has an increased risk of reinfection, according to the WHO.

The variant has been found in the U.K., Israel, Belgiumthe NetherlandsGermany, Italy, Australia and Hong Kong, but not yet in the U.S. Many countries, including the U.S., moved to restrict travel from southern Africa.

Vaccine makers have announced measures to investigate omicron with testing already underway. While it remains to be seen how omicron responds to current vaccines or whether new formulations are required, Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could roll out a reformulated vaccine against the omicron variant early next year.

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