European stocks closed higher on Tuesday amid growing optimism about economies reopening and a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by 1% provisionally, with travel and leisure stocks surging 6.8% to lead gains. Most sectors and major bourses were in positive territory.
Investors are tracking developments in the race toward a vaccine for Covid-19. American biotech firm Novavax said Monday it started the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Meanwhile, U.S. drugmaker Merck on Tuesday said it plans to work alongside nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus.
The firm said it expects initial results on safety and immune responses in July. That comes on the back of Moderna’s recent report of a positive development in its vaccine trial where all 45 participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.
Anglo-German travel operator Tui led the sector’s move higher to skyrocket 52%, buoyed by reports that Spain and Germany will ease travel restrictions.
Dutch biopharmaceutical firm ArgenX climbed 30% after positive results from a clinical trial into a new treatment for a neuromuscular disease. British travel retailer SSP Group gained around 26%.
At the bottom of the European benchmark, Italian biotech firm Diasorin slid almost 6% as Jefferies cut the stock to “underperform.”