Europe Markets

European stocks close higher on hopes of an effective Covid-19 vaccine; BBVA up 15%

Key Points
  • Risk-on sentiment was boosted Monday as Moderna announced that preliminary data showed its vaccine was more than 94% effective.
  • BBVA agreed to sell its U.S. business to PNC for $11.6 billion, sending shares of the Spanish lender up over 15.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Monday as hopes for an effective coronavirus vaccine were further boosted by positive news from Moderna.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by 1.3% provisionally, with oil and gas stocks jumping 4.2% to lead gains as almost all sectors and major bourses remained in positive territory.

Global markets have continued a broad rally over the past week, following encouraging news from Pfizer and BioNTech's late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial, which offered a glimmer of hope for the global economy. The risk-on sentiment received a further boost Monday as Moderna announced that preliminary data showed its own vaccine was more than 94% effective.

On Wall Street, equities climbed on the back of the news from Moderna, with stocks that would benefit from the economy reopening leading the way higher.

The coronavirus pandemic remains a key concern for markets. More than 11 million Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Data from the COVID Tracking Project also showed that a record of more than 68,500 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with the coronavirus.

A study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Italian city of Milan showed that the coronavirus was circulating in Italy since September 2019, signaling that Covid-19 might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought, Reuters reported this weekend.

The U.S. election result also remains in focus for investors. On Sunday, President Donald Trump acknowledged publicly for the first time that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, more than seven days after media outlets including NBC News called the race for Biden. In subsequent tweets, however, Trump wrote that he would not concede.

Meanwhile in Asia, markets bounced on Monday as 15 economies in the region signed a deal that formed the world's largest trade alliance. Tech and auto stocks soared.

The trade deal, signed on Sunday, aims to gradually reduce tariffs across many areas, according to Reuters. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is now the world's largest trade bloc, a deal that excludes the U.S. It marks the first time that East Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea are in a single trade agreement.

In corporate news, Spanish financial group BBVA has agreed to sell its U.S. business, BBVA USA Bancshares, to PNC Financial Services Group for $11.6 billion. BBVA shares jumped more than 15% by afternoon trading, while compatriot Banco de Sabadell also gained more than 24%.

- CNBC.com staff contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO to access live PRO Talks live, including our Dec. 2 discussion on opportunities and risks in international markets.