European Shares Slide As Doubts Mount Over Virus Vaccine

European stocks were flat to slightly lower in cautious trade on Wednesday as doubts over a potential Covid-19 vaccine dashed hopes for quick economic recovery.

Overnight, a report from STAT News questioned the validity of the results of Moderna’s vaccine trial that had sent stock markets soaring on Monday.

Rising coronavirus cases in countries such as India, South Africa and Mexico also raised fears that the pandemic is far from over.

The pan European Stoxx 600 slid 0.1 percent to 339.02 after declining 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped around 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 index was losing 0.8 percent.

Shares of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA plunged as much as 23 percent after the low-cost carrier said it will get 3 billion kroner ($290 million) in loan guarantees from the government as part of a restructuring plan.

Aareal Bank shares surged 11 percent. The real estate lender said that it entered into discussions with a select group of long-term financial investors on the sale of a significant minority stake in subsidiary Aareon AG.

Rolls-Royce Holding tumbled 3 percent. The engine maker announced plans to cut 9,000 jobs – almost a fifth of its global workforce – to make annual cost savings of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.59 billion).

Clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer soared 7.3 percent. After reporting a 21 percent fall in annual profit, the company is accelerating its ‘Never the Same Again’ turnaround plan to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Shares of Experian Plc jumped 7.5 percent. The world’s biggest credit data firm reported higher annual revenue and kept its dividend unchanged.

Danone rose slightly after the food group confirmed its 2019 dividend despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Automaker Renault was little changed. The carmaker said it would cut about 400 out of some 3,200 jobs at its Slovenian unit Revoz.

In economic releases, Eurozone inflation slowed more than initially estimated in April to the lowest since 2016, final data from Eurostat showed.

Inflation slowed to 0.3 percent from 0.7 percent in March. The rate was revised down from 0.4 percent estimated on April 30. This was the lowest since August 2016.

U.K. inflation slowed to the lowest since 2016 on weak oil prices in April, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Consumer price inflation eased to 0.8 percent in April from 1.5 percent in March. Economists had forecast the rate to ease to 0.9 percent. The latest rate was lowest since August 2016.

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