European stocks rose on Wednesday despite the spillover of the Wall Street sell-off in technology stocks to Asia and fears about AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) vaccine trial.
Shares in firms like BP (BP.L), Shell (RDSB.L), and Unilever (ULVR.L) were among the biggest gainers in London on the back of the pound’s Brexit-related weakness, since their profits are denominated in dollars.
“Asian equities fell with the weak US handover. European stocks opened a little bit higher in early trade but risk sentiment appears very fragile,” said Neil Wilson, the chief markets analyst of Markets.com.
Meanwhile, the “routine” pausing of AstraZeneca’s closely watched vaccine trial rattled investors. The company is investigating whether a patient’s reported side effect is connected with the vaccine, known as AZD1222.
“Such are the problems with pinning hopes on a vaccine for a return to normal to be possible,” said Wilson.
“The worry is that while we have all kind of assumed that one company will come up with vaccine later this year, it’s not going to be plain sailing,” he said.
The declines in South Korea came even as the country’s vice finance minister confirmed that emergency stimulus measures would be introduced this week as part of the government’s fourth extra budget.
Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO), meanwhile, declined by more than 2.1%.
Futures are pointing to a higher open in the US, potentially putting an end to days of back-to-back declines.
Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq (NQ=F), meanwhile, rose by almost 0.7%.