Financial Markets Latest: European markets up after more vaccine news

Various vaccines are becoming available for Covid-19
Covid-19 vaccines will be rolled out in the coming months

There is another potential weapon in the battle against Covid-19, although AstraZeneca's big news wasn't quite as well-received as it perhaps hoped. Tradefair brings you the latest financial market news...

"[The vaccine] will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency."

- Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca

Markets across Europe were given another shot in the arm today (November 23) after AstraZeneca announced the much-anticipated results of phase three trials of its vaccine against Covid-19.

The pharmaceuticals firm said its creation showed an average efficiency rating of 70% when given in two doses at least a month apart.

The FTSE 100 leapt to 6,385 points as a result, gaining 0.5% to reach levels last seen in June.

Also climbing were stocks associated with the travel industry, which is hoping to see the world opening up again before too long if proper protection against the virus can be widely distributed.

Not the fanfare AstraZeneca deserves?

There was excitement from markets across the globe as the 'breaking news' icons began to pop up detailing AstraZeneca's results earlier today.

However, this was tempered slightly by the fact that the company's announcement seems to show a much lower efficacy rate than the vaccines of its rivals Moderna and Pfizer, both of which had already pipped it to the post with their own jabs.

Indeed, the lower figures meant AstraZeneca's shares actually fell by 2% to make it one of the leading losers on the FTSE 100 at the start of the week's trading.

Hargreaves Lansdown's Susannah Streeter commented: "With the bar set high by Pfizer and Moderna, even though the late-stage trials were better than expected, AstraZeneca's shares didn't get a booster shot."

Failing to be put off by this negativity, shares in TUI rose 8% and easyJet soared 4.6%, while Rolls-Royce and IAG (owner of British Airways) were up 4.3% and 3.8% respectively. All of these companies will undoubtedly be hoping a greater chance of impending vaccination leads to them seeing holidaymakers again soon.

Furthermore, there are reports that AstraZeneca's vaccine could be even more effective if the dosage is adjusted, as it has shown up to 90% success in preventing the disease when given as a half-dose followed by a full dose four weeks later.

This vaccine also has the advantage of not requiring special refrigeration and being far cheaper than those from Moderna and Pfizer - and the British government has already procured 100 million doses.

AstraZeneca's Pascal Soriot insisted: "It will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency."

Perhaps investors have been slightly spoilt with good news lately, as the world could scarcely have hoped for 50% protection against the rampaging virus mere months ago.

Looking forward to lockdown ending

Elsewhere, the markets are also eagerly anticipating the end of formal lockdown restrictions in England on December 2.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a new system of tier-based measures this evening, which look set to include the reopening of the high street in time for crucial Christmas trading.

This is something retailers in particular desperately need, with the forthcoming IHS Markit Purchasing Manager surveys set to show the UK Services PMI has fallen to just 42.5%.

In Europe, stock markets were also buoyant based on the improving news from the healthcare industry. The Stoxx 600 gained 0.7% at the start of trading, its highest level since the end of February.

Both the Dax and the IBEX increased by around 0.85% and the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.9%.

US markets including the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down on Friday, amid a worrying rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

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