LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Wednesday after struggling to regain ground amid fears around the new omicron Covid variant.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 30 points higher at 7,106, Germany’s DAX 58 points higher at 15,198, France’s CAC 40 up 39 points at 6,775 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 157 points higher at 25,943, according to data from IG.

The positive start to the first trading day of December comes after global markets were rattled at the start of the week and into Tuesday by concerns surrounding the new omicron Covid-19 variant amid fears that it could evade vaccines.

Major markets across Asia-Pacific bounced back Wednesday and U.S. stock futures were higher in overnight trading following a sell-off on Wall Street on Tuesday, due to both fears about the new variant and the Federal Reserve mulling a quicker-than-planned taper.

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U.S. stocks hit their session lows when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank will discuss speeding up the bond-buying taper at its December meeting.

Despite the potential disruption of omicron, the Fed chief said he thinks reducing the pace of monthly bond buys can move quicker than the $15 billion-a-month schedule announced earlier this month.

Hopes are pinned on vaccine makers’ ability to develop effective shots against the strain but there are still many unknowns about the new variant. The World Health Organization has said it will take several weeks to gain a full picture of how omicron’s mutations affect its response to existing vaccines.

Markets nosedived Tuesday morning following comments from Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who told the Financial Times that he expects vaccines to be less effective against the new strain.

Bancel also told CNBC on Monday that it could take months to develop and ship a vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant.

There are no major earnings releases on Wednesday. Data releases include final purchasing manager’s index (PMI) data for the euro zone in November, Ireland’s unemployment rate for November and German retail sales for October.

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— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this market report.

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