European markets closed higher on Thursday as investors turned their focus from the impeachment of Donald Trump, the only US president to be impeached twice, to signs of president-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus proposals.
“Though we await the details, we know that Biden has previously said he’s in favour of sending $2,000 [£1,464] cheques, and a readout of a call last week between Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer, said that Biden was in favour of ‘additional immediate economic relief for families and small businesses, funding for COVID-19 response, including vaccinations, testing, school reopening, and state and local frontline workers’,” said Deutsche Bank in an analyst note.
On Wednesday, 10 House Republicans voted in favour of impeaching Trump, including the third highest ranking member of the party, Liz Cheney.
Of the four presidential impeachment votes that have taken place in US history, Wednesday’s received the most bipartisan support. This follows the attack last week at the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters who were protesting his election loss. Trump is accused of inciting the violence, which led to the impeachment calls.
WATCH: Germany's economy shrank 5% in 2020 amid Covid-19 pandemic
COVID-19 remains in focus, as UK prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that the country was "taking steps" to keep out cases of a coronavirus variant discovered in Brazil.
He added that he was "concerned" about the variant, which has already been picked up by Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases. As a result, Tokyo has expanded its state of emergency. Europe is also placing additional restrictions to deal with higher cases, including Switzerland announcing the closure of non-essential shops and non-essential gatherings being limited to five people, excluding children.
Travelers arriving in England from abroad will also now be required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test from 4am on Monday 18 January 2021.
Asian markets were mixed overall while Japanese stocks surged to a new three-decade peak as investors focused on a global growth rebound. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 0.9% at market close, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) leapt up 0.9% and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) fell 0.9% at market close. South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) headed higher 0.1%.
WATCH: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?