European stocks were muted at market close on Wednesday as governments continue rolling out their COVID-19 vaccine campaigns and all eyes turn to the US House as it begins the process to impeach president Donald Trump. He is accused of inciting mobs who attacked the Capitol last week on 6 January.
Republicans are splintering on how to vote, with some supporting impeachment proceedings. The vote is expected to take place after 7pm UK time.
“The quiet, directionless week continues across global markets, as we await the start of US earnings season,” said Chris Beauchmap, chief market analyst at IG.
On the COVID-19 front, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said that the COVID-19 vaccine programme will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week as soon as possible.
The news comes after London councils and mayor Sadiq Khan put pressure on Johnson to implement tougher coronavirus measures as was seen last March and April, including closing places of worship. If not, the group said in a letter to the prime minister that the system would face an "unsustainable strain" on the NHS and public services.
Meanwhile, YouTube has banned US president Donald Trump for at least one week "in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence," according to the tech platform, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL).
Beyond hot button political concerns in the US, markets are also watching for signs of an increase in interest rates.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City president and chief executive Esther L George said on Tuesday that it was “too soon to speculate” when monetary policy support should be pulled back. Though, she also added that inflation could rise faster than expected, and that the Fed is not likely to react even if inflation is just over 2%.
WATCH: Will Interest rates stay low forever?
Asian markets were mixed at market close. While Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 1% at market close, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.2%, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) slid lower 0.3%. South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) headed higher 0.7%.
WATCH: Top Congressional Republicans signal support for Trump impeachment