European stock markets close flat amid positive coronavirus vaccine news

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed flat provisionally, with oil and gas stocks bouncing 3.2% to lead gains while telecoms stocks slipped 1%.

AstraZeneca said an interim analysis of clinical trials showed its coronavirus vaccine has up to 90% efficacy in protecting against the virus

LONDON — European stocks were mixed at the end of the day Monday, amid rising hopes that effective coronavirus vaccines will start getting rolled out soon.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed flat provisionally, with oil and gas stocks bouncing 3.2% to lead gains while telecoms stocks slipped 1%.

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said an interim analysis of clinical trials showed its coronavirus vaccine had up to 90% efficacy in protecting against the virus, making it the third inoculation this month that was revealed to be effective in trial data.

The news did little to buoy AstraZeneca’s stock price, however, which slumped around 3% by the close. The company’s vaccine had an average efficacy of 70%, lower than that of U.S. peers like Pfizer and Moderna.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose on the back of the latest positive vaccine news, despite concern about rising cases.

The U.S. recently reported nearly 200,000 new virus cases less than a week before Thanksgiving. Public health officials have warned that Thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday could further exacerbate the outbreak.

IHS Markit’s flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) index for the euro zone, which looks at activity in both manufacturing and services sectors, came in at 45.1 in November — the lowest reading in six months.

French business activity fell in November on the back of a second lockdown. The composite PMI reading came in at 39.9, down from 47.5 in October, with the 50-mark separating expansion from contraction. Germany’s composite reading was 52.0, down from 55.0 in October.

In terms of individual share price movement, German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp climbed 9.5%, while Spanish fuel company Repsol and British engineering firm Rolls-Royce climbed nearly 8%.

At the other end of the European blue chip index, Swedish investment firm Latour fell nearly 6%.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers remarks about health care at Beech Woods Recreation Center October 16, 2020 in Southfield, Michigan.

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