European markets hope coronavirus vaccine can be found


European stocks whipsawed on Tuesday morning, halting the positive trend set at the start of the week as hopes rise for a coronavirus vaccine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 reversed earlier progress to slide 0.4% below the flatline, with construction stocks falling 1.4% to lead losses while the travel and leisure sector held onto 0.6% gains.

European stocks closed sharply higher Monday as investor confidence rose with lockdown restrictions around the world being lifted. A big boost for global markets has also come with hope of a potential coronavirus vaccine after a positive development from a Moderna trial.  

Stocks in Asia jumped on Tuesday morning trade after Moderna reported “positive” phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The company said that after two doses, all 45 trial participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.

In other news, Chinese President Xi Jinping also said Monday that his country will provide $2 billion over two years to help other countries combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to permanently cut off U.S. funding of the World Health Organization, in a letter dated Monday that he shared on Twitter.

On the data front, new EU car registrations fell 76.3% in April, from the same month a year ago, according to data published Tuesday from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

Germany’s closely-watched ZEW survey of economic sentiment for May is also due.

Biggest movers

In terms of individual share price action, Beazley stock jumped more than 11% in early trade after the British insurance group’s share placing.

British airways parent IAG and software company Micro Focus both gained more than 9%.

At the other end of the Stoxx 600, Imperial Brands fell by 7.8% after the British tobacco giant announced that it would be cutting its dividend.



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