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European stocks maintain gains on Brexit, US stimulus

written by Bella Palmer

The pan-European STOXX 600 gained for a fifth straight session, adding 0.93%

European stocks maintained gains on Tuesday, boosted by the Brexit trade deal, US stimulus package and the roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations in the region.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.93%, a fifth straight session of gains. UK shares rose sharply, up 2% after the UK and EU on Thursday signed a Brexit trade agreement, averting a crashout from the bloc. Volumes were expected to be thin with many traders still away over the holiday season.

Having indicated he would not approve the $900bn coronavirus relief package and associated $1.4trln spending bill, US President Donald Trump signed both bills on Sunday, avoiding a partial government shutdown and ensuring millions of Americans would receive direct payments.

The mood was also lifted by news that EU ambassadors had on Monday given the green light for the Brexit trade deal to come into provisional force from 1 January. Official approval is expected later on Tuesday, with some countries, such as Sweden, still needing to consult their national parliament.

In equity markets, gains were broad-based, with travel and leisure stocks boosted by hopes of a recovery in 2021. AstraZeneca shares rose amid expectations that authorisation and roll out of its Oxford coronavirus vaccine was imminent.

Shares in British Airways and Iberia parent IAG were higher, along with Trainline and Deutsche Lufthansa, while aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce and InterContinental Hotels also gained.

Insurer Admiral also advanced after agreeing to sell its Penguin Portals and Preminen comparison businesses, which include online portal, to RVU - the comparison division of ZPG - in a deal valued at £508m.

Banking shares were lower after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confessed that the EU had won a better Brexit deal on financial services, with the UK now forced to enter more negotiations in an effort to seek better access to European markets. NatWest, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC all fell.


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