By Peter Nurse Investing.com – European stock markets are expected to open virtually unchanged Wednesday, and investors are keeping an eye on developments related to the coronavirus as political turmoil continues in the United States. At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the contract in Germany and France was up less than 0.1% and the contract in the UK was up 0.1%. Short-term prospects for the European economy darkened on Tuesday after a report in the Bild newspaper suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to extend the current lockdown on Europe’s largest economy until the end of March. “It appears that December’s trade enthusiasm, fueled by the prospect of a global economic recovery, is now being offset by alarming Covid-19 figures, as well as valuation concerns about stocks that have drifted far from their break-even price.” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades, in a morning note. Global equity markets have posted strong gains in recent weeks, driven by low interest rates and monetary and fiscal stimulus from central banks and governments, but also by the idea that vaccines were coming. Later on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives will vote to impeach President Donald Trump over the recent turmoil on the US Capitol. Vice President Mike Pence resisted pressure Tuesday to invoke the 25th Amendment to impeach Trump, saying it would not be in the best interest of the country. An impeachment trial could continue even after Trump leaves office on January 20. Back in Europe, commercial updates are expected from retailers Sainsbury’s, Persimmon (LON 🙂 and ASOS (LON :), while Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica (NYSE 🙂 has agreed to sell its mobile phone antennas in Europe and America. Latina to US telecom infrastructure operator American Towers for 7.7 billion euros ($ 9.41 billion) in cash. November industrial production figures for the euro zone will also be released. The euro area economy is set to contract again early this year as the resurgent pandemic plunges the region into a double dip recession. Oil prices continued to climb Wednesday, driven by industry data showing a larger-than-expected drop in US inventories, again suggesting that US measures to contain the latter. The increased pandemic had less effect on demand than those in Europe. US oil stocks fell 5.8 million barrels last week, data showed Tuesday night, more than the expected drop of 2.7 million barrels. The government agency, The, publishes its data later on Wednesday. futures traded 0.9% higher at $ 53.70 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract rose 1% to $ 57.14. Both benchmarks are trading at their highest levels since February. Elsewhere, it was up 0.8% to $ 1,858.95 / oz, while it was trading 0.1% higher at 1.2215.