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European Stocks Edge Higher

stockmarkets dec12 20nov20 lt

European stocks traded slightly higher on Friday as increased hopes around vaccines offset concerns over rising Covid-19 cases.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that COVID-19 vaccines could be approved before the end of the year. Data from the mid-stage trial of AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine candidate produced a strong immune response in older adults.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization or WHO has warned against using popular Covid-19 drug remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences, to treat hospitalized patients. According to the agency, there is currently no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients.

The International Monetary Fund, ahead of the upcoming G20 leaders' virtual meeting this week, says the economic path ahead remains difficult and prone to setbacks.

In the U.K., economic data showed Britain's retail sales rose more than expected in October despite a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Health minister Matt Hancock said that coronavirus cases in Britain are starting to flatten as a result of current lockdowns.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was up 0.4 percent at 389.29, adding to a 0.8 percent increase in the previous session.

Germany's benchmark DAX was up 47 points, or 0.4 percent, at 13,134 after losing 0.9 percent the previous day.

France's CAC 40 index was up 22 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,497 after shedding 0.7 percent on Thursday.

U.K.'s FTSE 100 increased 53 points or 0.8 percent at 6,387, after declining 0.8 percent in the previous session.

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors assessed recent gains in the context of surging coronavirus cases and chances of fresh restrictions in the United States.

On the German corportate side, automakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were modestly higher.

SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner SE rose about 1.7 percent after it decided to appoint Michael Eberhardt as chief executive officer with effect from December 1, 2020.

In U.K., AstraZeneca shares gained 2 percent after the company reported positive covid vaccine development news. Further, Imfinzi (durvalumab) has been approved in the US for an additional dosing option, a 1,500mg fixed dose every four weeks, in the approved indications of unresectable Stage III non-small cell lung cancer.

Technology company Sage Group Plc's shares were down 14 percent after the company reported weak revenues in its fiscal 2020, despite higher profit. The company also raised its dividend and said it sees higher organic revenue growth in the next year.

In Switzerland, Swiss Re stock was up 1 percent after the insurance major confirmed its over-the-cycle financial targets. The company reiterated its capital management priorities, focusing on capitalisation and a stable or increasing dividend.

Following WHO warning against remdesivir, Gilead Sciences' shares were down 2.4 percent in the premarkect activity on the Nasdaq.

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