European shares bounced on Friday on hopes that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be available in the US before the end of the year, with a clutch of upbeat quarterly earnings also lifting sentiment after a torrid week.
Pfizer Inc said it could file for US authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech AG as early as next month.
The news powered global stock markets and helped lift the pan-European STOXX 600 by 1.3 percent in its best session in nearly three weeks.
The benchmark stock index nevertheless ended Friday with its first weekly decline in three as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across Europe stoked fears about more sweeping lockdowns. The index fell 0.8 percent for the week.
London and Paris, Europe’s two richest cities, are again living under the shadow of state-imposed restrictions.
“This raises the very real fear that what is a stop-gap measure actually turns out to be something slightly longer term, which could see the collapse of hundreds of businesses,” CMC Markets UK market analyst Michael Hewson said.
The new restrictions could also stifle business activity, derail a nascent economic rebound and further pressure European stock markets, which have lagged a recovery in their US peers.
While the S&P 500 has gained about 8 percent this year, the European STOXX 600 is still down nearly 12 percent.
Adding to investor uncertainty, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that it was time to prepare for a no-trade deal Brexit unless the EU fundamentally changed course in trade talks.
London’s FTSE 100 still rose 1.5 percent, down 1.6 percent weekly, as analysts said the majority of market participants expected a deal to be reached.
In company news, Thyssenkrupp AG surged 10.8 percent as Liberty Steel Group, founded by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, said it had made a non-binding offer for the company’s steel unit.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE jumped 7.3 percent as recovering sales of Louis Vuitton handbags helped it contain the fallout from the coronavirus crisis in the third quarter.
Shares of other luxury goods makers, including Moncler SpA and Burberry Group PLC, rose more than 3 percent.
Telecoms and real estate were the only two European sectors to end lower on the day.
German shares gained 1.6 percent, clawing back more than half their losses from the previous session, with Daimler surging 5.5 percent after the luxury automaker posted forecast-beating third-quarter results.
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It
HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) has approved two sustainability-linked loans totaling NT$450 million (US$15.55 million) for Taya Group (大亞集團) and Sinbon Electronics Co (信邦電子), the bank said yesterday, adding that interest rates would fall if the borrowers’ sustainability performance improves. Those marked the first sustainability-linked loans granted by HSBC Taiwan, it said. While HSBC Taiwan has experience providing green loans for the nation’s developers of renewable energy sources to support their projects, the bank began focusing on sustainability-linked loans to meet rising demand from companies in other sectors planning to undertake sustainability programs, it said. “As we reward our clients who reach their
‘NEW TRAVEL MARKET’: The carrier initially planned to lay off about 8,000 people globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its workforce Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) would cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close today, the newspaper said. It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including about 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, it said. The company, which posted a HK$9.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) loss in the first half, has for months
LEANNESS-ENHANCING DRUG: Assigning a commodity classification to meat containing ractopamine could come under scrutiny by the WTO, the economic affairs minister said Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls to assign a product code for US pork and beef containing ractopamine. Facing a barrage of questions from lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee, Wang said that giving meat containing residues of ractopamine a commodity classification code would sow confusion and could come under scrutiny by the WTO. “Ractopamine is not a [meat] product, it is an additive,” said Wang, when questioned by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠). “If we had a serial code for every additive it would cause confusion. There is