European stocks were modestly higher Friday as investors look to vaccine rollouts for hopes of normalization, while global markets flirt with record highs. The pan-European Stoxx 600 inched around 0.2% above the flatline in early trade. Travel and leisure stocks climbed 0.9% to lead gains while telecoms fell 0.6%. European markets received a positive handover from Asia-Pacific. Shares in Asia broadly rose during Friday’s trade, taking their lead from Wall Street where the S&P 500 notched a record closing high on Thursday, as major U.S. indexes look to close out their strongest week since November.
Futures stateside were flat in the early hours of Friday as investors await January’s jobs report from the Labor Department, due at 8:30 a.m. ET. The MSCI ACWI, an index of the world’s 50 largest markets, rose 0.2% to 668.07 early in the European trading session, closing in on the record high of 670.82 notched around two weeks ago.
In corporate news, concerns are growing about a shortage of semiconductors for the automotive industry, after Ford and Stellantis announced production cuts due to the issue, while German supplier Robert Bosch and chipmaker Infineon issued warnings.