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European stock markets today: Coronavirus recovery hopes boosted


LONDON — European stocks were mixed Wednesday morning as investors monitor vaccine rollouts and coronavirus containment measures.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered around the flatline in early trade, with oil and gas and telecom stocks each adding 0.7% to lead gains while banks shed 0.8%.

European markets are keeping track of coronavirus developments in the region, with governments looking to accelerate, or to keep good momentum, in their coronavirus vaccination drives. In the meantime, lockdowns have been extended in Germany and the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, the U.S. also moved to speed up vaccinations by releasing vaccine doses it had been keeping in reserve and instead recommending that states immunize anyone aged 65 and over. U.S. stock index futures were modestly higher in overnight trading on Tuesday.

Covid cases continue to increase in the U.S. with the country recording at least 248,650 new Covid-19 cases and at least 3,223 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors watch for developments on the coronavirus front; the Japanese government is set to expand the state of emergency to more areas on Wednesday, according to local media reports. That comes after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas in a bid to stem a rise in coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile, local Chinese authorities in regions near Beijing are stepping up restrictions on social activity following a rise in new coronavirus cases.

Stocks on the move

Telefonica shares jumped 7.7% in early trade after the Spanish telecoms giant announced a $9.4 billion sale of phone masts to American Towers.

Carrefour climbed 6.8% after Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard said it had opened merger talks with Europe’s largest retailer.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Danish wind farm developer Orsted dropped more than 8% after issuing a profit warning.

– CNBC’s Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.

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