By Jack Denton
European-listed major oil companies were also higher on Tuesday as oil prices hit
Tough restrictions on people traveling from the U.K. and four other countries to Germany have been eased, opening up quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated visitors and those with COVID-19 antibodies.
Shares in European airlines, which are sensitive to developments in the COVID-19 picture in the region, lifted off on Tuesday. International Airlines Group -- the owner of British Airways and other carriers -- gained altitude alongside Lufthansa , Air France-KLM , and low-cost carriers Ryanair , easyJet , and Wizz Air .
The decision to remove the U.K., as well as Portugal, Russia, India, and Nepal, from the list of Germany's "virus variant" areas came just days after a meeting between U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The five countries are now considered "high incidence" areas. Fully vaccinated inbound travelers, as well as those with COVID-19 antibodies, need not be quarantined upon arrival in Germany, and unvaccinated visitors who test negative for coronavirus after five days can avoid a 10-day isolation period.
Also read:Here's how different countries are handling arrivals from Delta variant hot spots (link)
Merkel had been one of the European Union's loudest voices for careful travel restrictions to contain the spread of the more infectious delta variant of coronavirus, which has emerged as the dominant strain in the U.K. and other countries.
Airline stocks added lift to major European stock market indexes, which traded slightly lower on Tuesday but remained near all-time highs.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.1% lower, while in London the FTSE 100 was just below flat. Paris' CAC 40 fell 0.3% and the DAX in Frankfurt declined 0.5%. The U.S. premarket looked set for a muted open after markets were closed for Independence Day on Monday. Dow industrials futures were indicating an open around 20 points lower from the 152-point rally to 34,786 on Friday.
U.S. stocks hit new highs on Friday, with the S&P 500 marking a seventh-straight record close for the first time since 1997 (link), after a better-than-expected jobs report. Analysts noted that the macro picture remained unchanged for markets as the U.S. emerged from a long weekend.
"Indeed the most consequential story of [Monday] was probably that around oil where the failure to reach a deal at the latest OPEC+ talks sent prices up to fresh two-year highs," noted a team of strategists at Deutsche Bank led by Jim Reid.
Plus:OPEC+ calls off output talks again Monday, leading crude oil prices to surge (link)
"Some members of the group including Saudi Arabia had been hoping to increase production over the coming months, but the U.A.E. had refused to agree and sought better terms that would change how its quota is calculated and allow it to produce more," Reid added.
The news from the group of oil-producing countries sent crude prices to their highest since October 2018, with international benchmark Brent trading above $77 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate rose above $76.50.
Oil prices were up again on Tuesday, with Brent crude around $77.80 a barrel. The major European-listed oil companies rose in kind, with shares in BP , Royal Dutch Shell , Total , and Eni higher.
Ocado stock rose more than 2%, after the grocery-delivery company and robotics-logistics group reported half-year revenue and earnings ahead of analysts' expectations. A key rival to online retailer Amazon (AMZN) in the British online grocery market, Ocado is also the high-tech logistics partner of U.S. retailer Kroger (KR).
Shares in Alstom fell near 7%, as the French train and railway manufacturing group updated investors in a capital markets day. The company said the financial year 2021/2022 will be a transition period as it stabilizes after acquiring Bombardier Transportation.
-Jack Denton; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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