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European and US markets higher as investor sentiment improves

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The NHS 'Test and Trace' service is still issuing self-isolation orders to fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to infected people. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The NHS 'Test and Trace' service is still issuing self-isolation orders to fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to infected people. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

European markets rose on Monday in London as sentiment improved, even as the UK found itself in the midst of a 'pingdemic'. 

Polling by The Times published this morning found that nearly half of Britons are reducing social contact for fear of getting alerted — or 'pinged' — by the NHS COVID-19 app, amid measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

Small businesses reported the knock-on effect of staff shortages from the measures, with many in hospitality losing earnings due to being told to isolate. 

As the UK comes off the peak of its third wave, 26,144 coronavirus infections and 71 fatalities were announced on Saturday, while 29,173 cases and 20 deaths were reported this time last week.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) had risen 0.8% by the closing bell. Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) was up 0.3% and the CAC (^FCHI) rose 1.1%. 

All three indices had closed off Friday with losses.

The FTSE 250 (^FTMC) was lifted as defence and aerospace company Meggitt (MGGT.L) was bought out by US engineer Parker Hannifin (PH), sending its stock up almost 60%.

"European markets have got off to a good start this week, after getting a decent handover from markets in Asia, pushing the Stoxx600 to new record highs, along with the FTSE250, which has been given a lift from more M&A activity, while the FTSE100 has edged up to 7,100 and a two week high," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. 

US stocks also ticked upward at the closing bell in London as earnings season marches on. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was 0.4% higher. The Dow (^DJI) was 0.4% higher and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) gained 0.7%. 

Investors in the US are optimistic as a $550bn (£396bn) infrastructure package steps closer to passage in the Senate this week.

"The US corporate earning numbers will continue to come out this week, and this will be another factor that is likely to influence the market's price action," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade. 

"Nearly 59% of the S&P 500 have already reported their earnings for Q2, and nearly 88% have surprised investors by beating the estimates."

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Overnight in Asia, stocks were buoyant, as some of the fears from last week's regulatory crackdown on education and tech companies eased. The SSE Composite (000001.SS) headed 1.9% upwards. The Hang Seng (^HSI) closed 0.9% higher and Japan's Nikkei (^N225) bounded 1.8% higher. 

Alongside regulatory pressure, China is facing fresh waves of COVID-19 and signs of slowing economic growth. These factors have stoked bets on monetary easing and a rally in sovereign debt.

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