European shares rally on vaccine, Brexit optimism
The first trading session of 2021 proved to be fruitful for the European shares as optimism over the Brexit trade deal and coronavirus vaccines lorded over the Western financial markets.
The pan-regional STOXX 600 index increased 1.2%, duplicating February 2020 highs, with mining and travel & leisure stocks among the top performers.
London’s blue-chip index posted a 1.6% gain in its first trading day with Britain formally out of the European bloc.
Shares in UK banks including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, and Natwest traded marginally lower.
Meanwhile, Germany’s DAX rose 1.1% to trade below all-time highs, while France’s CAC 40 increased 1.3%.
The agreed Brexit trade deal in late December did not include the financial sector, leaving Britain’s access to the European Union’s financial markets expiring on Dec. 31.