European Stock Futures Higher; Vaccine Confidence Rises

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Investing.com – European stock markets are seen opening higher Monday as investors react with optimism over the continued progress towards workable coronavirus vaccines.

At 2:15 AM ET (0715 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.7% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.8%. 

Moncef Slaoui, head of the U.S. government’s vaccine development effort, named Operation Warp Speed, announced on Sunday that the first Covid-19 vaccine doses could be handed out to key individuals as early as Dec. 11.

This comes after Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and German partner BioNTech, applied for U.S. FDA emergency drug authorization for their Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, the same day as Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) announced that it was close to seeking the same approval after promising news from its final-stage vaccine trial.

Additionally, it was announced earlier Monday that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), in conjunction with the University of Oxford, was up to 90% effective in preventing the Covid-19 virus if patients were given an initial half dose, followed by a full dose.

The prospect of a vaccine starting to be distributed before the Christmas holiday period has buoyed investors, even though it will undoubtedly take some time before production levels and supply chains are able to match the global demand. Meanwhile, new cases continue to grow and large swathes of public life are curtailed across Europe and the U.S.

“Optimism around vaccine developments continues to buoy sentiment, despite the current lockdowns that we are seeing across Europe, and with the numbers of U.S. Covid-19 cases now passing the 12 million mark,” said analysts at ING, in a research note.

Indications of the extent of the damage to the euro-zone economy from the recent restrictions many countries have implemented to stop the surge in Covid-19 cases will be in focus later Monday, in the form of flash November PMI data for the service and manufacturing sectors.

The euro-zone composite output index is expected to fall to 45.8 in November from 50.0 in the previous month, with the services sector taking the brunt of the hit.

In corporate news, Danone SA (PA:DANO) announced plans to cut as many as 2,000 jobs by 2023, aiming to bolster profitability by saving 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

Oil prices pushed higher Monday on the news that the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine before Christmas now looks likely. Adding to the positive tone were hopes that a meeting of the top producers next week would see curbs on output extended. 

U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% higher at $42.90 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 1.3% to $45.64, near their highest levels since September, having gained over 5% last week.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,871.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.1874.

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