By Peter Nurse Investing.com – European stock markets are expected to open slightly higher on Thursday, as reports of Christmas trading come in from the retail sector. At 2:10 AM ET (0710 GMT), the contract in Germany was up 0.2%, in France it was up 0.2% and the contract in the UK was up 0.2%. Tesco (OTC :), the UK’s largest food retailer and online retailer boohoo attracted attention with their updates, Tesco (LON 🙂 reported a 6.4% increase in comparable sales for the third quarter of its year fiscal and an increase of 6.1% compared to the Christmas period. Meanwhile, online fashion group boohoo (LON 🙂 raised its sales guidance for the year to an increase of around 37% from the previous 30%. In France, meanwhile, automaker Renault (PA 🙂 unveiled a new strategic plan aimed at increasing operating margins to more than 5% by 2025, mostly by reducing its production by more than 20% in that period. The idea of additional stimulus in the US has boosted global equity markets since Democrats took over the Senate earlier this year and received another boost overnight after CNN reported that President-elect Joe Biden was considering an additional package of up to $ 2. billion. However, gains are likely to be limited on Thursday as governments in Europe tighten their coronavirus restrictions on fears about a fast-spreading strain first detected in the UK. Italy, whose government is on the brink of collapse, will extend its Covid-19 state of emergency until the end of April. The Netherlands will extend its lockdown measures for at least three weeks, while France is thinking of extending its curfew nationwide. Vaccination programs continue to be implemented across the continent, but are not expected to help much for another two to three months. That said, there was good news on the vaccine front, as early trial data published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE 🙂 single-shot Covid vaccine appeared to elicit a response. immune in both the young and the elderly. Elsewhere, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on the sole count of incitement to insurrection for his role in last week’s uproar on Capitol Hill, making him the first U.S. president to face two of those judgments. Oil prices fell on Thursday, and traders had to balance the impact of the pandemic on demand with a larger-than-expected drop in US inventories. Oil supply data released Wednesday showed a draw of 3.247 million barrels last week, the fifth consecutive week of reductions, while data on Tuesday showed a draw of 5.821 million barrels. US crude futures were trading 0.1% lower at $ 52.90 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract fell 0.2% at $ 55.97. On the other hand, it fell 0.8% to $ 1.840 / oz, while it traded 0.1% lower at 1.2145.