European Shares Extend Gains For Third Day

European stocks rose for a third straight session on Wednesday, with optimism about a Brexit trade deal, hopes of effective coronavirus vaccines and the growing prospect of more U.S. fiscal stimulus helping underpin investor sentiment.

Markets await the outcome of a FOMC meeting later today to see whether the Fed will step up monetary policy accommodation by focusing more asset purchases on the long end of the Treasury yield curve.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.9 percent to 396.27 after gaining 0.3 percent on Tuesday. The German DAX climbed 1.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 1.1 percent.

Telecoms and cable group Altice Europe surged 23 percent after Next Europe increased its buyout offer for the company.

Pharmaceutical company Galapagos lost nearly 14 percent on a Reuters report that U.S. partner Gilead opted not to seek approval for a rheumatoid arthritis drug.

Petrofac tumbled 4.1 percent. The oil services company said its financial performance in the second half of 2020 has continued to be impacted by Covid-19.

Barclays advanced 2.7 percent. The Financial Conduct Authority has fined the bank 26 million pounds for failures in relation to their treatment of consumer credit customers who fell into arrears.

Distribution and outsourcing Group Bunzl lost 4.4 percent. The company said it expects group revenue for fiscal year 2020 to increase by about 8 percent at actual exchange rates and by approximately 9 percent at constant exchange rates.

Retailer Travis Perkins surged 4 percent after providing a trading update for the months of November and December.

Alstom SA rose about 1 percent. The speed-train maker said it has received a contract to design, build and maintain the transport system for Toulouse Metropole’s third metro line.

Rail technology company Vossloh jumped 3 percent. The company said it expects to achieve average annual sales growth of 4 to 5 percent in the medium term.

Continental AG rallied 4.1 percent after presenting its realigned strategy with which it aims to achieve annual organic growth of around 5 to 8 percent on average in the mid-term.

BioNTech SE advanced 2.4 percent. The German biotechnology firm and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd. have announced an agreement to supply Mainland China with an initial 100 million doses of their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against Covid-19 in 2021.

In economic releases, the euro area private sector moved close to stabilization in December as stronger manufacturing output growth helped to counter a further drop in service sector activity, flash survey results from IHS Markit showed.

The composite output index advanced more-than-expected to 49.8 in December from 45.3 in the previous month. The expected level was 45.8.

The survey revealed that the economic impact of the second waves of virus infections has been far less severe than the first wave.

In the U.K. the IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the services and manufacturing sectors rose to 50.7 in December from November’s 49.0.

U.K. consumer price Inflation weakened to a three-month low of 0.3 percent in November from 0.7 percent in October, the Office for National Statistics said. The rate was well below the economists’ forecast of 0.6 percent.

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