European stocks nudged slightly higher on Tuesday, with U.S. stock market futures pointing similarly up, as the market looks set to temper Monday’s extended optimism over a coronavirus vaccine breakthrough.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 SXXP, +0.43% rose near 0.5%, while in Germany the DAX DAX, -0.06% fell 0.2%. France’s CAC 40 PX1, +0.93% lifted near 1.3% and the FTSE 100 UKX, +1.18% was around 1.2% higher in London.
European stock markets were trading around eight-month highs following Monday’s spectacular rally after news of a coronavirus candidate vaccine breakthrough.
Drugmaker Pfizer PFE, +7.69% and its partner BioNTech 22UA, +8.06% announced on Monday that the candidate vaccine they are developing, which is in Phase 3 clinical trials, has an efficacy rate of 90% when assessed seven days after the second dose was administered.
The news created stark winners and losers in the market. Sectors like travel, transport, banks, and hospitality — hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic— rebounded strongly, while stocks representing the “stay-at-home” economy, like food delivery, were battered.
Analysts cautioned uncertainty in the markets on Tuesday, as the economic pressure of the pandemic remains, and some of Europe’s largest economies, like Germany, the U.K., and France, remain under some form of lockdown.
The Pfizer and BioNTech study hasn’t been peer-reviewed and must still pass regulatory hurdles, so any widespread distribution of the vaccine, if successful, won’t happen immediately.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., said that Monday’s highs for the Dow and S&P 500 “certainly point to a much greater sense of optimism than at any other time this year, however it still doesn’t hurt to exercise a degree of caution, at a time of still highly elevated levels of uncertainty.”
“This means that for all of the optimism that we saw in yesterday’s rebounds in travel, leisure, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality, we need to see evidence that consumer behavior will start to change as well,” Hewson said. “Even then, overall capacity in all of these sectors is likely to be much lower than was the case pre-pandemic.”
Rolls-Royce RR, +16.60% led the FTSE 100’s winners, rallying for a second day as much as 28%, as hope that a vaccine would return widespread air travel boosted confidence. The engineering company’s balance sheet has long been reliant on lucrative engine-maintenance contracts for cash flow.
“Stay-at-home” stocks Just Eat Takeaway.com JET, -3.07% and Delivery Hero DHER, -4.86% led the losers on the FTSE 100 and DAX, respectively, as some sentiment remains that an end to the pandemic will see a fall in consumer demand for food delivery. Just Eat fell near 5% and Delivery Hero dropped 7%.
Shares in Paris-based commercial real-estate company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield URW, +24.88%, a Stoxx 50 constituent, rose more than 30% after a rights issue proposal failed to gather the required majority vote.