European stocks closed higher on Monday as investors reacted to positive results from another coronavirus vaccine candidate.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 recovered earlier losses to provisionally close over 0.7%. Construction and materials firms led the gains with a 1.4% gain, with most sectors and major stock markets in positive territory.
A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford in the UK with AstraZeneca appears to be safe and produced a strong immune response in a large, early-stage human trial, according to results published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.
The experimental vaccine combines genetic material from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus known to cause infections in chimpanzees. AstraZeneca shares rose more than 1% after the results were released.
Some other promising news came out of the UK on Monday as UK pharmaceutical company Synairgen claimed its new respiratory treatment for the coronavirus had reduced the number of Covid-19 hospital patients requiring intensive care in a clinical trial.
Britain’s FTSE 100 was the only major index decidedly in the red, with tensions between the UK and China weighing on sentiment. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday announced the suspension of the Hong Kong extradition treaty, in response to Beijing’s new national security law in the former British colony.
Meanwhile, European investors have also been following EU talks on a proposed € 750 billion ($ 857 billion) stimulus fund. Negotiations which began in Brussels on Friday continued on Monday, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron expressing cautious hopes that a compromise can be found.
On Wall Street, stocks were mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.2% while the Nasdaq climbed more than 1% as Amazon led other major tech stocks higher. A Goldman Sachs analyst has raised his price target for the e-commerce giant to $ 3,800 a share, the highest on the streets.
The pandemic remains at the center of market concerns as coronavirus cases increase at an alarming rate in some parts of the world. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed more than 70,000 cases were confirmed in the United States on Saturday, marking two consecutive days of at least 70,000 new confirmed infections.
Back in Europe, Ubi Banca rebounded 14% after Intesa Sanpaolo increased its takeover bid on the small Italian lender. Shares of Philips rose more than 5% after the health tech company posted better-than-expected results.
At the other end of the blue-chip European index, Natixis stock fell more than 7% after owner BPCE said he did not intend to file a takeover bid for more shares of the French corporate bank.
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