- A laboratory study has indicated that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is effective against the new, highly-transmissible mutations of the virus found in the U.K. and South Africa.
- Germany's DAX notched a new record high on Friday morning.
- Credit Suisse on Friday projected a net loss for the fourth quarter on the back of an $850 million provision for a long-running dispute in the U.S. over a residential mortgage-backed security.
LONDON — European markets closed higher Friday as global investors anticipated that a Democratic-controlled U.S. government will lead to greater fiscal support.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.5%, with tech stocks jumping 2.4% to lead gains while autos bucked the trend to slide 0.6%. Germany's DAX index notched a new record high on Friday morning.
The Stoxx 600 also posted its best week in around two months, according to Reuters data, with a gain of 3%.
European shares received a mostly strong handover from Asia-Pacific on Friday, with South Korea's Kospi surging 3.9% to lead gains. Mainland Chinese shares bucked the trend to slip lower after the New York Stock Exchange's announcement that it will delist the U.S.-listed stocks of those three Chinese telecommunication giants to comply with an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last year.
Shares of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor soared more than 20% following a local media report of a deal between the firm and tech giant Apple on developing electric vehicles and batteries.
Stateside, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to record highs on Friday even after the release of data showing the U.S. economy unexpectedly lost jobs last month.
Meanwhile, Trump admitted in his own words for the first time on Thursday that the Biden administration will take charge on Jan. 20, having challenged the outcome of the election since Nov. 3. However, he continues to face calls for removal and impeachment following the siege on the Capitol, which left five people dead and drew global condemnation.
Markets have also reacted positively to Democrats winning two Georgia Senate runoffs, thereby securing control of the upper chamber and bolstering Biden's chances of advancing his legislative agenda. This is expected to include heavier spending and borrowing to support the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
More positive news on the Covid-19 vaccine front also boosted sentiment Friday, as a laboratory study indicated that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine could be effective against the new, highly-transmissible mutations of the virus found in the U.K. and South Africa.
The U.K.'s regulator on Friday approved Moderna's vaccine for use, making it the third vaccine cleared for distribution in the country, after the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
On the data front, euro zone unemployment unexpectedly declined in November, according to Eurostat figures published Friday, falling to 8.3% from 8.4% in October.
Credit Suisse on Friday projected a net loss for the fourth quarter on the back of an $850 million provision for a long-running dispute in the U.S. over a residential mortgage-backed security. The Swiss lender's shares were down 3.6% during afternoon trade.
In terms of individual share price action, Sodexo shares gained more than 10% after the French catering group reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results and upgraded its outlook.
German semiconductor company Infineon Technologies climbed 6.7% after peer Samsung Electronics offered an upbeat outlook.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Anglo-German travel operator Tui plunged 20% after announcing a 545 million euro ($666.3 million) capital raise to shore up its finances.