The European Union called Thursday to avoid non-essential travel between the countries of the bloc, as Germany crossed the 50,000 Covid-19 deaths marks.
Today, data shows that a slowdown in eurozone business activity accelerated in January, and a recession there looks more and more likely.
Markits PMI index fell from 49.1 points in December to 47.5 points this month, further away from the 50-point level which indicates growth. The German government cuts 2021 GDP growth forecast to 3% from 4.4%.
In the U.K, the situation is even more a cause for concern, with a PMI falling to 40.6 from 50.4 in December, with the services industry taking a bigger fall to 38.8.
Although investors have been cheered in recent days by a solid start to earnings season, there are worries that high valuations could leads to some vulnerability in stocks in the next few months.
This third week of the year, which had been circled in red by investors, ends with a new President in the United States and persistent uncertainties about the evolution of the pandemic. The world is now aiming for the vaccine tipping point, while financiers will be looking to corporate results and forecasts to try to determine what 2021 will look like.
Central banks that remain very accommodating, according to the established formula, like the ECB yesterday. Hopes for a return to a normal economic situation rest entirely on vaccination, which is being implemented in many regions. Investors' news will be largely dominated in the short term by the wave of annual corporate earnings releases, with big names of the stock market on the agenda as early as next week.
Along with PMI figures, data released today includes old U.S. real estate figures. In Japan, consumer prices fell by 1% year-on-year in December, excluding fresh produce. The worst deflation seen in the country in 11 years.