Europe Markets

European stocks close higher on coronavirus vaccine hopes; Burberry down 5%

Key Points
  • The latest developments surrounding a potential coronavirus vaccine are one of the main focuses for markets Wednesday. 
  • Biotech firm Moderna said its potential vaccine produced a "robust" immune response in all 45 patients in its early stage human trial.
  • Earnings in Europe come from retailer Burberry. Its shares sank 5% after reporting a 45% drop in sales for its first quarter.

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday amid elevated hopes for a coronavirus vaccine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally closed 1.9% higher, with travel and leisure shares surging 5.9% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.

Biotech firm Moderna said Tuesday that its potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19 produced a "robust" immune response, or neutralizing antibodies, in all 45 patients in its early stage human trial, according to newly released data published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings provide more promising data that the vaccine may give some protection against the coronavirus. On Wall Street, stocks rose on the back of vaccine optimism and a blowout second quarter from Goldman Sachs

New cases of the coronavirus continue to soar in the U.S. especially in a number of hot spot states, including Texas, California and Florida, state and local officials are reconsidering reopening plans. CNBC's live blog has all the latest coronavirus developments.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he signed legislation to impose sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong's autonomy. Trump also said he signed an executive order ending Hong Kong's special status with the U.S.

Earnings in Europe come from retailer Burberry. Its shares sank 5% after reporting a 45% drop in sales for its first quarter.

Shares of Atlantia in Italy meanwhile soared nearly 26% amid a last-ditch effort by the firm's motorway unit to keep its concession with the national government.

—CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace Jnr. and Eustance Huang contributed to this report.