07:31 AM EDT, 03/26/2021 (MT Newswires) -- European bourses were tracking higher midday Friday as traders shrugged off COVID-19 pandemic concerns, and embraced oil and tech issues. Market denizens also eyed a Wall Street futures market signalling green and strong overnight gains on Asian exchanges.
Despite widening continental pandemic restrictions, German business climate improved in March, the Institute for Economic Research (Ifo) reported. The Business Climate Index posted at 96.6 in March, up from 92.4 in February. The Current Economic Assessment Index for March posted at 93.0, up from 90.6 in February. The Expectations Index rose to 100.4 in March from 95.0 in the previous month. All indicators were generally better than expected.
The broad-gauge Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up 0.6% mid-session, pulled higher by oil, tech and property issues.
In the sector metrics, the Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index was up 1.3% near midday, while the Stoxx 600 Bank Index was up 0.6%. The Stoxx Europe Oil & Gas Index was up 1.5%, but the Stoxx Europe Food & Beverage Index was flat.
The REITE, a European REIT index, was up 1%.
Among national indices, the German DAX was up 0.8%, and the FTSE 100 Index in London was up 0.7%. The CAC 40 in Paris was 0.4% higher, and Spain's IBEX 35 was up 0.7%.
Yields on 10-year German bonds were higher at negative 0.35%, less negative than Thursday.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures rose 2.0%, to near $63.13 per barrel.
Despite the tenacious COVID-19 pandemic, the Euro Stoxx 50 volatility index was down 4.0% to 18.12, indicating below average volatility for European stock markets in the next 30 days. The index has waffled in the low 20s through most of 2021, after hitting peaks near 80 in January 2020, but has slipped below 20 in recent weeks. A reading above the 20-mark indicates above-average volatility ahead, while below 20 suggests expectations for calmer markets.
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