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LIVE MARKETS Sweden steals the show at the open

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  • European stocks rise at the open

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SWEDEN STEALS THE SHOW AT THE OPEN (0820 GMT)

As was to be expected, European stocks opened in positive territory this morning.

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What was less obvious was that two stocks from Sweden would steal the show.

First, Swedish drugmaker Orphan Biovitrum also known as 'Sobi' plunged a whopping 22% after U.S. private equity firm Advent International and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund withdrew their bid after receiving low acceptance levels.

Sobi is the worst performing stock across the STOXX 600 but another company from Abba's country is also the best performing one.

Evolution is rising close to 10% after announcing a buyback which seems to be music to the ears of investors.

Leaving individual stocks aside, the session has started on a clear risk-on mood with travel and leisure stocks leading the way with a 2.3% rise.

Worries about the pandemic and the Omicron variant are still here but some investors have decided that some tactical dip buying is in order.

Oil and gas and insurers are also cruising up about 1% while classic defensive plays such as healthcare and consumer staples are close to flat.

It must be noted that while it's still very early on Wall Street, the mood there seems to be a bit more cautious with mixed futures before today's NFPs.

(Julien Ponthus)

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OMICRON AND PAYROLLS (TGIF) (0804 GMT)

Today's non-farm payrolls, a reliable monthly snapshot of the U.S. employment picture, almost comes as an anti-climax. A more timely indicator, weekly jobless benefits rolls released on Thursday, showed a sub-2 million figure for the first time since last March and layoffs at three-decade lows read more .

Alongside robust consumer and manufacturing data, it indicates the Federal Reserve will likely accelerate the pace of unwinding bond purchases, as its boss Jerome Powell has suggested.

It's also already being priced by bond markets; the gap between two- and 10-year Treasury yields has narrowed the most since June this week.

Payrolls do have the capacity to surprise; a number shockingly below the 550,000 estimated by a Reuters poll of economists, would likely cause turmoil. Especially as the data won't reflect disruptions from the latest Omicron variant of COVID.

Omicron remains a source of volatility mostly everywhere; German 10-year yields dropped at the open and are heading back to the three-month lows touched on Thursday after Europe's biggest economy expanded COVID curbs. And China's services sector, vulnerable to COVID outbreaks and containment measures, stumbled in November, PMIs showed.

Asia has specific worries of its own, not least over U.S.-China ties. Hong Kong tech shares (.HSTECH) dropped to a two-month low after news of China's Didi (DIDI.N) shifting its listing from New York to Hong Kong, while fellow Asian ride-hailing app Grab fell 20% on its Nasdaq debut read more .

Finally don't forget Chinese property problems, with deeveloper Kaisa risking an imminent default. read more

In any case, the mood may be perking up. Thursday's Wall Street bounce gave way to a weak Asian session but European equities have opened firmer.

Payrolls

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Friday:

-U.S. FTC sues to block Nvidia deal to buy Arm read more

-ECB speakers: President Lagarde, chief economist Philip Lane

-Final services PMIs everywhere

-U.S non farm payrolls

-Emerging markets: Turkey CPI

-Fitch to review Italy credit rating

(Sujata Rao)

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EUROPE SET TO PULL OFF WEEKLY GAINS DESPITE OMICRON (0736 GMT)

While European stocks have not yet fully recovered from last Friday's Omicron shocker, the pan-European STOXX 600 is currently set to pull off modest weekly gains despite a grim newsflow.

In the grand scheme though, the European index currently stands at 465 points, about 3% below levels when the world was still unaware a new COVID-19 variant would trigger fresh travel restrictions.

With futures currently trading up about 0.6% this morning, dip buyers may be tempted to have a go but some may decide to wait to get a look at the U.S. job data scheduled later today.

While few analysts believe today's NFPs could change the Fed's new focus on inflation, some volatility after the data is likely.

Among the news investors will be carefully assessing this morning is the decision of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global to delist from New York just five months after its debut and pursue a listing in Hong Kong.

Another one is U.S. competition authorities seeking to block Nvidia's $80 billion bid for British chip technology provider Arm.

Talking about M&A, Australian biopharmaceutical giant CSL is in exclusive talks to buy Swiss drugmaker Vifor Pharma in a $7 billion deal, Australian media reported.

(Julien Ponthus)

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