LONDON — European stocks closed lower Thursday as a rally prompted by positive vaccine news started to peter out amid renewed fears of shutdowns due to rising coronavirus cases.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.7% provisionally, with travel and leisure stocks dropping 1.7% to lead losses as almost all sectors and major bourses slid into negative territory.
Results published Thursday on the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca indicated that it is safe and triggers a similar immune response among all adults. The study, published in The Lancet, failed to boost market sentiment.
Pfizer said Wednesday that final analysis had shown its vaccine was 95% effective and would be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval within days. This came as New York City announced that it was closing schools due to a rising positivity rate.
Other authorities are moving to reinstitute some of the stay-at-home orders, curfews and public safety measures, including shutting down nonessential businesses in a handful of cities. There are growing worries that if the infection spread is not contained, widespread lockdowns could be reinstated.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indexes fell slightly on Thursday amid disappointing U.S. unemployment data and the rising cases. The Labor Department said that 742,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week of Nov. 14, topping a Dow Jones estimate of 710,000.
European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde on Thursday cautioned that euro area inflation is likely to remain negative into early 2021 as fresh economic shutdowns sweep through the continent. Lagarde also warned policymakers in Brussels of the potential damage that would be caused to the bloc's economy should they fail to implement its historic stimulus plan, after Hungary and Poland vetoed the agreement on Monday.
Corporate earnings continued to drive individual share price movement, with Royal Mail climbing more than 3% after a promising earnings report.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO to access live PRO Talks, including our Dec. 2 discussion on opportunities and risks in international markets.
- CNBC.com staff contributed to this market report.