European stocks head for higher open on vaccine hopes

European stocks are expected to open higher Wednesday as investor hopes for a coronavirus vaccine rise.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 54 points higher at 6,223, Germany’s DAX is seen 171 points higher at 12,834,  France’s CAC 40 is expected to open up 66 points at 5,058 and Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 263 points higher at 20,034, according to IG.

The latest developments surrounding a potential coronavirus vaccine are one of the main focuses for markets Wednesday. 

Biotech firm Moderna said Tuesday that its potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19 produced a “robust” immune response, or neutralizing antibodies, in all 45 patients in its early stage human trial, according to newly released data published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings provide more promising data that the vaccine may give some protection against the coronavirus. Moderna’s stock rose more than 16% in after-hours trading on the news. 

New cases of the coronavirus continue to soar in the U.S. especially in a number of hot spot states, including Texas, California and Florida, state and local officials are reconsidering reopening plans. CNBC’s live blog has all the latest coronavirus developments.

Meanwhile, stocks in Asia shed earlier gains and traded mixed on Wednesday as concerns over U.S.-China tensions weighed on investor sentiment.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he signed legislation to impose sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong’s autonomy. Trump also said he signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s special status with the U.S.

Earnings in Europe come from retailer Burberry; there are no major European data releases Wednesday.

– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jnr. and Eustance Huang contributed to this report.

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