European markets boosted by coronavirus vaccine hopes

European stocks are expected to open higher Monday, boosted by the resumption of coronavirus vaccine trials.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 24 points higher at 6,049, Germany’s DAX up 96 points at 13,275, France’s CAC 40 up 35 points at 5,060 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 164 points at 19,901, according to IG.

European stocks are expected to get a boost from news that Phase III trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine have resumed in the U.K. after trials were halted last week over safety concerns. The news raises hope that one of the leading candidates in the global race to develop an injection which can stem the pandemic is back on track. 

AstraZeneca said it received confirmation from the United Kingdom’s Medicines Health Regulatory Authority that it was safe to resume clinical trials. The company declined to disclose medical information about the pause of the trial, but indicated earlier this week that a potentially unexplained illness was under investigation.  

The news comes as the number of coronavirus cases continued to grow over the weekend in nearly a dozen U.S. states. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, called the data “disturbing.”

Covid-19 cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out daily reporting, in 11 states as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University, an increase from eight states on Friday.

Meanwhile in Asia, stocks rose in Monday trade with investors watching shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group following an announcement of its sale of U.K. chip designer Arm to U.S. chip firm Nvidia in a deal worth $40 billion, the companies announced Sunday.

The news helped lift sentiment in the U.S. with stock futures rising on Sunday night, coming after a sell-off in tech shares last week.

On the data front, euro zone industrial production figures are due for July and OPEC releases its latest monthly report on the oil market.

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