European Stoxx 600 dipped by 1.4 percent, with autos shedding the largest at 2.7 percent. Travel stocks depreciated by 1 percent, largely due to restrictions announced in The Netherlands on Sunday and a report of likely lockdown in Denmark this week.
However, a report by Moderna Inc helped contain the decline. Moderna had said the booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be effective against Omicron COVID variant in laboratory testing.
“Headlines about booster shots working against the Omicron variant are providing little support, but if we are heading towards more movement restrictions and as long as virus cases continue to rise, we will see stock markets remain under pressure for awhile,” said Equiti Capital analyst David Madden.
British equities market, FTSE 100 Index shed 1 percent, driven by weakness recorded in commodity-related stocks and more than 5 percent decline in oil prices.
The decline was triggered by a series of lockdown restrictions expected to be announced in the Euro-area this week. Netherlands entered full lockdown on Sunday until January 14, 2022, according to caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
He said “The Netherlands is going into lockdown again from tomorrow,” he said, adding that the move was “unavoidable because of the fifth wave caused by the omicron variant that is bearing down on us.”
Micheál Martin, Irish Prime Minister, better explained the continent situation in address to the nation, saying the new restrictions were needed to protect lives and livelihoods from the resurgent virus.
“None of this is easy,” Martin said Friday night. “We are all exhausted with Covid and the restrictions it requires. The twists and turns, the disappointments and the frustrations take a heavy toll on everyone. But it is the reality that we are dealing with.”