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Coronavirus: Markets rise on vaccine hopes and lockdown easing in England

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The sun rises over the River Thames in east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

European stocks rose as markets opened on Tuesday, as hopes grew that a potential coronavirus vaccine could be available more swiftly than expected.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was trading 0.7% higher, Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) jumped 1.4%, and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up 1.2% at around 8.30am in London.

The leading French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi (SNY, SAN.PA) announced on Tuesday that a potential vaccine could be signed off by regulators in the first half of next year, according to Reuters. It is working alongside UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), which has said any vaccine would be available from the second half of next year if trials are successful.

Asian stocks also closed higher overnight on a slight easing of global trade fears. It came after US president Donald Trump stated that the US-China trade deal was “fully intact,” in a bid to stem concerns over his trade adviser Peter Navarro’s claim the deal was “over.”

China’s Shanghai Composite index (000001.SS) closed 0.2% higher, Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) was up 0.5% overnight, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index (^HSI) rose 1.3%.

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Britain’s lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on the economy has also come sooner than widely anticipated. Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm England’s cinemas, galleries and museums as well as hospitality venues can reopen on 4 July if social distancing measures are in place.

A two-metre social distancing rule is also expected to be loosened, after strong lobbying by hospitality firms. The news is likely to be welcomed by many firms and investors, but has sparked fresh concerns more widely about the risks of a resurgence in cases.

US stock futures were also pointing to a higher open. S&P 500 (ES=F) and Nasdaq (NQ=F) futures were trading around 0.4% higher, and Dow Jones (YM=F) futures were up 0.5% at around 3.25am eastern time.