Europe Markets

European markets close sharply higher on vaccine hopes, U.S. jobs surprise

Key Points
  • Markets were buoyed by news Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech showed potential in an early-stage human trial.
  • The latest U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Thursday showed a much bigger employment increase than expected. The country added 4.8 million jobs in June versus expectations of 3 million.

European stocks closed sharply higher Thursday on positive news around a potential coronavirus vaccine and better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed about 1.9% higher, with banks jumping 4.5% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses remained in positive territory.

European stocks tracked global markets higher, with investor sentiment getting a boost from news that a vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech shows potential. An early-stage human trial of one of four potential coronavirus vaccines it's developing showed the drug created neutralizing antibodies. The results, which were posted online, have yet to be reviewed by a medical journal.

Markets received an additional boost Thursday afternoon as the latest U.S. nonfarm payrolls report showed a much bigger increase than expected. The country added 4.8 million jobs in June versus expectations of a 3 million increase.

On Wall Street, stocks rose on the jobs numbers but pared gains slightly after Reuters reported a one-day spike of more than 10,000 coronavirus cases in Florida.

Back in Europe, the euro zone unemployment rate in May came in at 7.4%, up from 7.3% in April as the region grappled nationwide lockdowns in a bid to contain the pandemic.

Globally, more than 10 million people have been infected by the coronavirus and at least 517,000 lives have been taken, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Biggest movers

Meggitt shares jumped more than 6% after a trading update as the British engineering company expressed hopes of a recovery in the aerospace business.

At the other end of the European blue chip index, shares of British packaging company DS Smith were down over 7% after its latest trading update.