CAC 40 INDEX

European Markets Close Higher With Vaccine Rollout and Containment Measures in Focus

Pharmacist Jason Hyde fills syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as first responders wait to receive it at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on January 12, 2021.
Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images
  • Telefonica shares jumped 9.6% after the Spanish telecoms giant announced a $9.4 billion sale of phone masts to American Towers.
  • ProSiebenSat.1 dropped almost 6% after private equity firm KKR looked to sell part of its stake in the German mass media company.

LONDON — European stocks closed slightly higher on Wednesday as investors monitored vaccine rollouts and coronavirus containment measures.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.17% provisionally, with telecoms stocks climbing 1.1% to lead gains while travel and leisure shed 1.1%.

European markets kept track of coronavirus developments in the region, with governments looking to accelerate, or to keep good momentum, in their coronavirus vaccination drives. In the meantime, lockdowns have been extended in Germany and the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, the U.S. also moved to speed up vaccinations by releasing vaccine doses it had been keeping in reserve and instead recommending that states immunize anyone aged 65 and over. Stocks on Wall Street rose marginally on Wednesday as the market struggled for direction for a second day.

Stocks on the move

Carrefour surged 13.4% on Wednesday after Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard said it had opened merger talks with Europe's largest retailer.

Telefonica shares jumped 9.6% after the Spanish telecoms giant announced a $9.4 billion sale of phone masts to American Towers.

Meanwhile, ProSiebenSat.1 dropped almost 6% after private equity firm KKR looked to sell part of its stake in the German mass media company.

— CNBC's Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.

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