By Peter Nurse Investing.com – European stock markets were mostly flat Wednesday, with investors keeping a cautious eye on developments related to the coronavirus as they monitor political turbulence in the United States. At 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), the in Germany was trading 0.1% lower, the in France was up 0.1% and the UK index was up 0.1%. Short-term prospects for the European economy darkened a bit 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. That said, the underlying tone remains positive given low interest rates globally and monetary and fiscal stimulus from central banks and governments, as well as the idea that vaccines are 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. An impeachment trial could continue even after Trump leaves office on January 20. Back in Europe, Telefónica (NYSE 🙂 shares rose 7.5% after the Spanish telco agreed to sell its mobile phone masts in Europe and Latin America to US telcos. infrastructure operator American Towers for 7.7 billion euros ($ 9.41 billion) in cash. Shares of ASOS (LON 🙂 rose 3% after the retailer released a better-than-expected trade update, while shares of Carrefour (PA 🙂 rose more than 6% after it became known that Canada’s Couche -Tard was in talks to buy the French retailer. November 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 rise Wednesday, driven by industry data showing a sharp decline in US inventories, again suggesting that US measures to contain the latest surge in the pandemic have had less of an effect on the demand than those of Europe. Oil stocks in the United States fell 5.8 million barrels last week, data showed Tuesday night. The government agency, The, publishes its data later on Wednesday. futures were trading 0.3% higher at $ 53.37 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract was up 0.5% at $ 56.84. Both benchmarks are close to their highest levels since February. Elsewhere, it was up 0.7% to $ 1,857.35 / oz, while it was trading 0.2% lower at 1.2186.