Coronavirus, US policy at the center of concerns

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LONDON – European stocks soared on Tuesday morning as investors remain focused on the latest coronavirus developments and the state of US politics.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.3% at the start of trading, with travel and leisure titles adding 1% to lead the gains as nearly all sectors and major exchanges advanced.
An increase in the number of coronavirus cases seen around the world weighs on sentiment; Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in overnight trading after Wall Street stocks retreated overnight from their all-time highs on Monday. US equity futures remained stable in overnight trading.

Investor attention also remains on coronavirus news and political events in the United States; House Democrats on Monday presented an impeachment article against U.S. President Donald Trump for inciting the mob attack on Capitol Hill last week. The lower house plans to vote on the article this week.

Investors are also weighing the prospect of further fiscal stimulus in the United States after a Democratic sweep of Congress.

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday promised a major rollout of economic stimulus, which he said would amount to “trillions of dollars.” More details will follow in an official announcement Thursday, six days before he takes office. The need for further stimulus was underlined by an unexpected job loss in December.

On the coronavirus front, rising infections in Europe are dominating investor concerns although there is hope amid a massive rollout of vaccinations across the continent.

In terms of individual share price movement on Tuesday, Swiss online pharmacy Zur Rose Group gained more than 6% early in the transaction after announcing a collaboration with Novo Nordisk.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Temenos slipped 5% after Credit Suisse downgraded the share of the Swiss banking software company to “underperform”.

– Jacob Pramuk of CNBC contributed to this market report.

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