European stocks closed higher Monday, despite a rising coronavirus death toll and surging cases in the U.S.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up 0.6%, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory. Bank stocks were the top performers, climbing more than 2%.
Investors are digesting news that the coronavirus has now killed more than 500,000 people around the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed infections has also exceeded 10 million.
The U.S. accounts for more than 20% of all reported deaths caused by Covid-19, more than any other country in the world, according to the data, followed by Brazil, the U.K., Italy and France. However, country-to-country comparisons of the death toll are difficult due to differences in reporting methods.
Market sentiment appeared to improve Monday after Gilead Sciences announced the pricing plan for its coronavirus treatment candidate remdesivir. The drug will cost $3,120 for a typical U.S. patient with commercial insurance. The company intends to begin charging for the drug in July.
On Wall Street, stocks rose in volatile trading as investors cheered news on Boeing and traders shrugged off the latest surge in coronavirus cases. Pilots and test crew members from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing are reportedly expected to begin a three-day certification test campaign for the 737 Max on Monday.
In corporate news, British oil giant BP on Monday announced that it will sell its petrochemicals business to privately owned U.K. chemicals company Ineos for $5 billion.
On the data front, euro zone economic sentiment improved in June, according to data published Monday by the European Commission. Economic sentiment in the bloc rose to 75.7 from May's 67.5. Employment expectations in both goods and services also increased.
Wirecard shares rallied 154% as the German payments company vowed to continue business activities after filing for insolvency. This represented only a small real share price increase to 3.57 euros per share ($4.03), following the stock's recent plunge, on the back of the $2.1 billion discovered to be missing from its balance sheet.