Global equities rose on November 23 following mixed Covid vaccine results, while investors also digested gloomy economic data that could herald another virus-driven downturn, dealers said.
British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced that their jointly-developed vaccine has shown an average 70 per cent effectiveness in trials involving 23,000 people.
The results ranged between 62 and 90 per cent efficacy depending on the vaccine dosage.
The announcement comes after other trials of drugs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna announced effectiveness above 90 per cent.
Nearing midday in London, the capital’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.3 per cent, while AstraZeneca’s share price dipped 1.5 per cent to £81.91 ($109.65).
In the eurozone, Frankfurt gained 0.6 per cent and Paris won 0.4 per cent.
The British pound rebounded on reports that Brussels and London were set to unveil a long-awaited post-Brexit trade deal.
The dollar faltered amid a lack of movement on agreeing a massive US stimulus package.
“The results of AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine trial result failed to trigger a major rally in equities with the 70 per cent efficacy result perhaps disappointing in comparison to the results from Pfizer and Moderna,” said AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould.
“In relative terms one can understand why AstraZeneca’s result only triggered a shrug of the shoulders from investors.
“However, a 70 per cent result is still positive for helping society return to normal and there are significant cost and storage benefits with the AstraZeneca jab.”
Monday’s news came after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech applied for emergency use authorisation for their drug, which could be rolled out next month.
Moderna is expected to make its own application soon.
The need for an inoculation has been made stark by soaring infection and death rates in the US and elsewhere as the northern hemisphere heads into winter, when viruses usually spread more.
Some US states have started imposing new restrictions, while several European countries including England and France have returned to lockdowns.
Europe’s equity gains were dented also by a key surveys showing economic activity plunged in November on fresh lockdowns aimed at curbing the second wave of coronavirus – indicating a quick return to recession.