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European markets close higher after U.S. Congress confirms Biden election win

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Vice President Mike Pence arrives to preside over a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Key Points
  • European stocks closed higher on Thursday after U.S. Congress confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president.
  • It comes after dramatic scenes when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Thursday after U.S. Congress confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president, following dramatic scenes when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up by 0.5%, with basic resources shares adding 2.8% to lead the gains while the travel and leisure sector dropped 1.2%.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris hit 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than needed to secure a White House victory. Trump received 232 votes. It comes after a projected win for Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

Democrat Jon Ossoff beat Republican David Perdue in one of the runoffs, NBC News projected, sealing his party's control of Congress and the White House. Democrat Raphael Warnock is projected to defeat GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the state's other runoff.

Biden's election victory confirmation by Congress on Thursday was delayed as rioters backing incumbent Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building. Trump had earlier urged supporters at a rally to march on Congress.

Markets have been largely unaffected by the chaos in Washington and on Wall Street Thursday, stocks rose to all-time highs as traders looked past the unrest.

In Europe, the coronavirus pandemic remains a key concern. The U.K. reported more than 50,000 new daily cases on Thursday and a further 1,162 deaths of people with the virus.

On the data front, euro zone economic sentiment improved in December, according to European Commission figures published Thursday, but inflation remained negative, coming in at -0.3% according to a flash estimate.

In terms of individual share price movement, Lundin Energy gained 10.5% to lead the Stoxx 600, after receiving permission to drill a new exploration well in the Norwegian North Sea.

At the other end of the European blue chip index, French IT consultancy Atos plunged 13% after launching a $10 billion bid for U.S. rival DXC Technology.