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European Stock Futures Lower; Rising Covid Cases Dent Sentiment

European stock markets are seen opening lower Monday, with continuing concerns over rising numbers of Covid-19 cases globally weighing on sentiment. Oil prices are also falling as producers agree to increase output.

At 2:05 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.8% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.6%.

Asia has been the main battleground for the latest surge of Covid-19 cases, with many countries in the region struggling to curb the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

That said, a number of European countries, including France, the Netherlands, Greece and Spain, announced new restrictions last week in a bid to curb a rise in infections - although the French government has backtracked on plans for sweeping new rules to expand the use of vaccination certificates after massive protests at the weekend.

England is lifting its restrictions Monday, including social distancing rules and limits on social gathering, even as the number of its recorded Covid cases tops 50,000 a day and senior members of the government are forced to self-isolate.

Staying in Europe, the destruction caused by massive flooding around Germany and Belgium over the last few days could also weigh on sentiment this week.

The economic data slate is pretty empty in Europe Monday, but investors will cautiously await Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank, with the Governing Council expected to announce revamped guidance on its future policy.

In corporate news, the luxury goods sector will be in the spotlight Monday after the Financial Times reported that Italian fashion group Ermenegildo Zegna has agreed to go public by combining with the special-purpose acquisition company, New York-listed Investindustrial Acquisition Corp., resulting in an enterprise value of $3.2 billion.

Elsewhere, oil prices weakened Monday after a group of top producers agreed over the weekend to boost output, overcoming an internal spat that threatened the stability of the market.

The group, which includes members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies like Russia, agreed to add 400,000 barrels a day every month from August 2021 onwards, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Kuwait and Russia also receiving higher baselines against which their output cuts are measured from May 2022.

At 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% lower at $70.89 a barrel, while the Brent contract

fell 0.7% to $73.06.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,809.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded marginally lower at 1.1803.

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