European stock markets posted small gains Wednesday, adding to the recent sharp rally driven by hopes that the Omicron Covid-19 variant is less virulent than previous versions.
At 3:35 AM ET (0835 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.5% and the U.K.’s FTSE 100climbed 0.5%.
A South African study suggested on Tuesday that booster doses produced by Pfizer , and German partner BioNTech , could help fend off infection from Omicron, although the study showed the new strain can partially evade protection from two doses. BioNTech stock fell 0.7%.
An earlier study showed that GlaxoSmithKline’s antibody-based therapy, made in conjunction with Vir Biotechnology , was effective against it.
Still, whatever the news surrounding Omicron, the countries in Europe are still battling to stop a fourth wave of the pandemic, with Germany recording the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 since February on Wednesday.
Wednesday also sees the end of an era in Germany as Olaf Scholz is sworn in as chancellor, replacing Angela Merkel.
In corporate news, L’Oreal stock rose 1.2% and Nestle rose 1.7%, after the world’s largest food company said late Tuesday it would cut its stake in the French cosmetics company to about 20%, reducing its holding for the first time in seven years.
L’Oreal said the deal will have an accretive effect on the company’s earnings per share of more than 4% in a full year.
Tui (DE: stock fell 2.8% after the tour operator posted an annual loss of over 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) and warned that the news around Omicron had slowed bookings, while HelloFresh stock slumped 6.9% as the meal-kit provider offered up underwhelming 2022 guidance.
The FTSE MIB climbed down by 4.60% to 25852.20. In the cash markets, the DAX Germany was trading down by 1.12% to 15,109.65. CAC 40 in France fell by 1.27% to 6,690.37 while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. was down by 0.34% to 7,364.35 ,at the time of writing.