European stocks rise on optimism about coronavirus vaccine

Edmund Heaphy
·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 28: Scientist Xinhua Yan works in the lab at Moderna in Cambridge, MA on Feb. 28, 2020. Moderna has developed the first experimental coronavirus medicine, but an approved treatment is more than a year away. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Moderna’s vaccine is the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in humans. (David L Ryan/Boston Globe via Getty Images)

European stocks climbed on Wednesday as investors assessed positive results from initial trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine produced by biotechnology firm Moderna (MRNA).

The potential vaccine, developed by researchers at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, provoked a promising immune response and appeared safe in 45 healthy volunteers in an early-stage study.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) rose by around 1.2%, while London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) climbed by almost 1%.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up by around 1.2%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) climbed by almost 1.6%.

The data from the Moderna trial built on earlier promising, but incomplete, results the company had released in May. A late-stage trial of the vaccine candidate is set to begin on 27 July.

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“It’s that time again. After the Dow Jones rose 557 points on Tuesday night, choosing to focus on bank earnings over COVID-19 cases, the European markets got extra juiced up on the latest vaccine news,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at trading platform Spreadex.

“This week, the spinning wheel landed on Moderna, which reported that its COVID-19 vaccine had produced a ‘robust’ immune response in all of the 45 patients in its early stage human trial,” he said.

“Like with every vaccine update, the fact these are only baby steps when considering the timeline of clearance, mass production and implementation didn’t stop investors buying into the optimism.”

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday as rising tensions between the US and China weighed on optimism.

US president Donald Trump on Tuesday imposed sanctions on China following the introduction of a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, which has dealt a severe blow to the region’s autonomy.

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Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by almost 1.6% on Wednesday, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) closed over 0.1% in the red in Hong Kong.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) climbed by 1.6%, while the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea closed 0.8% in the green. Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) rose by almost 1.9%.

Futures were pointing to a higher open for US stocks on Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by around 0.8%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) climbed by around 1%. Nasdaq futures (NQ=F), meanwhile, were up by around 0.5%.