Markets

European markets close higher on coronavirus drug hopes, lockdown pullbacks

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 2.4% higher, with travel all sectors and major bourses trading in positive territory.
  • Global stock markets rallied after STAT news reported that a Chicago hospital treating coronavirus patients with Remdesivir in a trial were recovering rapidly from severe symptoms.

European stocks closed higher on Friday after a report that a drug developed by Gilead Sciences was showing effectiveness in treating the coronavirus.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 2.4% higher, with travel and leisure stocks surging over 6% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.

Global stock markets rallied after STAT news reported that a Chicago hospital treating coronavirus patients with Remdesivir in a trial were recovering rapidly from severe symptoms.

Meanwhile, countries around the world including the U.S. and Germany, Europe's largest economy, are beginning to implement plans to lift lockdown measures as the rate of new cases declines.

However, the International Monetary Fund this week said the global economy is expected to shrink by 3% this year, before growing by 5.8% next year — a rebound that its Chief Economist Gita Gopinath has described as a "partial recovery."

Stocks on Wall Street were also trading higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 400 points on the back of the reports around Remdesivir. 

On the data front, euro zone inflation slowed sharply in March to 0.7% year-on-year, down from 1.2% in February.

In terms of individual share price action, cinema operator Cineworld led the surge for travel and leisure stocks, climbing more than 21%, while Scottish energy services firm John Wood Group saw its shares jump over 13%.

At the other end of the European benchmark, German meal kit delivery company Hellofresh and biotech firm Diasorin fell 4.2% and 3.7% respectively.