European Stocks Mostly Higher; BioNTech Weakens on Vaccine Supply Concerns

European Stocks Mostly Higher; BioNTech Weakens on Vaccine Supply Concerns

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded mostly higher Friday, helped by increasing confidence of a U.S. stimulus package that is reinforcing the positive sentiment generated by the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

At 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded largely flat, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.4% and the U.K.'s FTSE index climbed 0.7%.

Global stock markets have seen strong gains over the last few weeks, helped by investor optimism that vaccine developments will support a global recovery in 2021. Adding to the confidence is the idea that a bipartisan, $908 billion coronavirus relief plan is gaining traction in the U.S. Congress.

On top of fiscal support, the European Central Bank is widely expected to increase its bond buying next week and the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to adjust its guidance around its asset purchase scheme later in December.

Earlier Friday, German industrial orders rose more than expected in October, rising by 2.9% on the month, while September's figure was upwardly revised to an increase of 1.1%.

" The increase at the start of Q4 lifted the level of new orders to 0.8% above its pre-virus level, pointing to significant upside to manufacturing production, which was still languishing some 10% below its pre-Covid level at the end of Q3," said Claus Vistesen, an analyst with Pantheon Macroeconomics, in emailed comments.

Talks between the EU and U.K. negotiators to secure a Brexit deal have continued Friday, but a U.K. government source warned chances for a breakthrough were receding while France said it would veto any deal if it is considered unsatisfactory to French interests.

In corporate news, BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) stock fell 3% after its partner Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) said supply chain obstacles forced it to slash the 2020 production target of its Covid-19 vaccine by half.

AB Foods (LON:ABF) stock rose 2.1% after the retail group said it still expects to increase profits and revenue at its Primark unit despite the coronavirus-inspired lockdowns.

Later in the session the monthly U.S. official employment report will be in focus, and is expected to show an addition of 469,000 jobs for November, a slowdown from the 638,000 seen in October.

Oil prices gained Friday after a group of leading producers agreed to continue restricting production given the severe hit to demand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed Thursday to ease production cuts by 500,000 barrels per day from January 2021, backing down from the original plans to raise output by 2 million barrels a day.

The group will also meet once a month to review conditions, but stated that any monthly increases will not be greater than 500,000 barrels per day.

U.S. crude futures traded 2.2% higher at $46.62 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 2.1% to $49.74, with the two benchmarks heading for their fifth consecutive week of gains.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,844.70/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.2159, having hit a new 31-month high overnight.

Original Article

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