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European stocks gain despite tech rout and vaccine doubts

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·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
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07 February 2020, Hessen, Neuenhain: Fog lies in the morning shortly before sunrise over the banking city of Frankfurt. In the coming days it will remain frosty cold, especially at night. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa (Photo by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The sun rises in Frankfurt, where shares gained on Wednesday. Photo: Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

European stocks rose on Wednesday despite the spillover of the Wall Street sell-off in technology stocks to Asia and fears about AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) vaccine trial.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) rose by around 0.7%, while London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up by around 1%.

Shares in firms like BP (BP.L), Shell (RDSB.L), and Unilever (ULVR.L) were among the biggest gainers in London on the back of the pound’s Brexit-related weakness, since their profits are denominated in dollars.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was almost 0.9% in the green, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by around 0.7%.

READ MORE: Pound hits six-week low as UK unveils controversial Brexit bill

Shares in technology giants such as Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) each extended their losses on Tuesday, with the panic denting shares in Europe and Asia.

“Asian equities fell with the weak US handover. European stocks opened a little bit higher in early trade but risk sentiment appears very fragile,” said Neil Wilson, the chief markets analyst of Markets.com.

Meanwhile, the “routine” pausing of AstraZeneca’s closely watched vaccine trial rattled investors. The company is investigating whether a patient’s reported side effect is connected with the vaccine, known as AZD1222.

“Such are the problems with pinning hopes on a vaccine for a return to normal to be possible,” said Wilson.

“The worry is that while we have all kind of assumed that one company will come up with vaccine later this year, it’s not going to be plain sailing,” he said.

Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by more than 1.8%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (^HSI) closed almost 1.1% in the red.

READ MORE: AstraZeneca halts COVID-19 vaccine trial after ‘unexplained illness’

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) fell by over 1%, as did the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea.

The declines in South Korea came even as the country’s vice finance minister confirmed that emergency stimulus measures would be introduced this week as part of the government’s fourth extra budget.

Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO), meanwhile, declined by more than 2.1%.

Futures are pointing to a higher open in the US, potentially putting an end to days of back-to-back declines.

Futures on the S&P 500 (ES=F) rose by around 0.2%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) were flat.

Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq (NQ=F), meanwhile, rose by almost 0.7%.

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