European stocks inch higher as AstraZeneca gains on UK vaccine approval

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany

European stocks edged higher on Wednesday as Britain approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, while bets of more U.S. fiscal aid and massive vaccination efforts spurred hopes of a strong global economic recovery next year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.1% by 0810 GMT, hovering near a 10-month high hit in the previous session.

Shares in AstraZeneca were up 1.3% after jumping 3.3% earlier in anticipation of the news. The drugmaker said the authorisation was for a two-dose regime, and that the vaccine had been approved for use for emergency supply as Britain battles a new, highly contagious variant of the virus.

Most markets in the region were subdued due to thin volumes in a holiday-shortened week. The German DAX was flat, while French and Spanish stocks slipped 0.1% each.

Unicaja rose more than 2% and Liberbank was down 3.6% after they announced an all-in share deal that would create Spain’s fifth-biggest bank with around 110 billion euros ($134.71 billion) in assets.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.