European equities closed higher on Friday after UK economic growth accelerated in April and beat forecasts.
The FTSE, the European Stoxx 600 and the German Dax rose 0.7%, the French CAC rose 0.8%, and the Swiss market index rose 0.3%.
The UK’s gross domestic product rose 2.3% year-on-year in April from 2.1% in the previous month, the government said, beating the consensus forecast for growth of 2.2%. It was the fastest monthly growth since July 2020 amid easing COVID-19 restrictions. While GDP remains 3.7% below its pre-pandemic high in February 2020, it has grown 1.2% since October.
In Brexit news, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it now depends on the European Union to find a solution to the Northern Ireland trade problem. The announcement follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s warning to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson against making any changes to the Brexit agreement for Northern Ireland, stating that “everything applies.”
Biotech Moderna (0QF.F) has entered into an agreement with Tabuk Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Astra Industrial Group, to commercialize its COVID-19 vaccine and future option-specific boosters in Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, Tabuk Pharmaceuticals will have permission to sell the vaccine in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the manufacturing site in Monte, France has received approval from the European Medicines Agency’s Human Medicines Committee for the production of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The manufacturing facility will be operated by Recipharm (12RA.F).
Vicore Pharma (VICO.ST) rose more than 8% after the FDA approved an application for a new investigational drug to conduct late study C21, a potential treatment for COVID-19. The Phase 3 trial, called Attract-3, will evaluate the effect of C21 on the recovery of 600 hospitalized adults with oxygen support, but not mechanical ventilation. Results are expected in the first quarter of 2022.