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European Stocks Close Higher On Recovery Hopes And Positive Vaccine Updates

European stocks closed higher on Friday as rising optimism about additional fiscal stimulus in the U.S. and positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front.

Fairly encouraging economic data from Germany also contributed to the positive mood in European markets.

On the vaccine front, the UK's drug regulator has approved Moderna's vaccine for use. Moderna's vaccine will be the third in distribution in Britain following those developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech.

Meanwhile, a laboratory study has reportedly found the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to be effective against the new and highly-transmissible variant of the virus.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.66%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.24%, Germany's DAX advanced 0.58% and France's CAC 40 surged up 0.65%, while Switzerland's SMI edged up 0.18%.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey closed higher.

Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal ended lower, while Iceland and Poland ended flat.

In the UK market, Hargreaves Lansdown, Ocado Group, Compass Group, Just Eat Takeaway, Aveva Group, Ferguson, Taylor Wimpey, B&M and Melrose gained 2 to 5.4%.

Barratt Developments rallied more than 5% after the company said that it expects to resume dividends next month after first-half sales rate rose 12%.

On the other hand, Fresnillo, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Polymetal International, BT Group, Sainsbury, 3i Group, Barclays, CRH and Vodafone Group lost 2 to 3.4%.

In Germany, Infineon Technologies surged up nearly 7%, riding on strong quarterly earnings posted by Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics. RWE gained 4.5%, while Adidas, Deutsche Wohnen, Fresenius Medical Care, Vonovia, Henkel and SAP advanced 1 to 2.3%.

Wirecard plunged 45%. Volkswagen slid more than 5% and Thyssenkrupp ended lower by more than 2%. BMW also ended notably lower.

In France, Sodex soared more than 10% as revenues improved in the latest quarter. Technip rallied nearly 5% and Veolia gained more than 4%. Atos, Publicis Groupe, Dassault Systemes and Capgemini gained 2 to 3%.

Renault, ArecelorMittal, Danone, Peugeot, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas ended sharply lower.

In the Swiss market, Credit Suisse shares ended sharply lower after the bank said it expects to increase provisions for the MBIA case and other RMBS-related cases by a total of $850 million.

In economic news, data from Destatis showed Germany's industrial production grew 0.9% percent month-on-month in November, slower than the revised 3.4% increase seen in October. However, this was better than the economists' forecast for a growth of 0.7%. On a yearly basis, industrial production declined 2.6% after falling 2.7% a month ago.

Another data from Destatis said Germany's exports and imports grew at faster rates in November. Exports logged a monthly growth of 2.2% versus a 0.9% rise in October. Similarly, growth in imports improved to 4.7% from 0.4% a month ago.

A report from Eurostat said the euro area unemployment rate declined slightly in November, dropping to 8.3% from 8.4% a month earlier. The unemployment rate was 7.4% in November.

French industrial production decreased 0.9% month-on-month in November, falling for the first time in seven months, the statistical office Insee said. In October, industrial production had increased by 1.9%.

Switzerland's jobless rate was stable in December, data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, showed. The jobless rate was a seasonally adjusted 3.4% in December, same as seen in November. Economists had expected a rate of 3.5%.

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