European Stock Futures Edge Higher; E.ON in Focus

© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are seen opening slightly higher Wednesday, with investors pausing for breath after this week’s strong gains on the back of coronavirus vaccine hopes.

At 2 AM ET (0700 GMT), the contract in Germany traded 0.2% lower, in France climbed 0.4% and the contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%. 

Global stock markets have responded positively this week to the news from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE:) that the vaccine it is developing, in conjunction with German partner Biontech (NASDAQ:), was more than 90 percent effective at preventing Covid-19. 

In Europe, the and the indices are around 7% higher, while the has posted gains of over 10%.

“Certainly, there is a ray of hope from the vaccine and investors will have a little more confidence that we are moving into an early-stage recovery cycle rather than teetering on the precipice of another double-dip,” said ING analyst Chris Turner, in a research note.

However, as positive as this news is, the drugmakers still have to disclose safety data for their experimental vaccine before seeking regulatory approval, and if passed the rollout to the global population will still take considerable time.

Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people have died of Covid-19 across Europe. With just 10% of the world’s population, Europe accounts for almost a quarter of the 1.2 million deaths globally from the disease, prompting governments to lock down their economies to try and prevent their well-equipped hospitals from collapsing under the strain.

With this in mind, investors are looking to hear from European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde about the European economic outlook and stimulus prospects in a speech at 1300 GMT.

In corporate news, E.ON (DE:) will be in focus after the German energy company reported a drop in third-quarter profit, but it also backed its full year outlook, citing a rapid market recovery.

Oil prices pushed higher Wednesday, continuing the recent positive tone generated by Pfizer’s vaccine news, and helped further by an industry report showing that inventories fell by more than expected.

The American Petroleum Institute showed a of 5.147 million barrels of crude from last week’s stocks, as opposed to the 900,000-barrel draw expected. from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later in the day.

U.S. crude futures traded 1.5% higher at $41.99 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract rose 1% to $44.05. Both contracts are up more than 10% this week.

Elsewhere, rose 0.2% to $1,879.45/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.1827.

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