European stocks advanced on Wednesday, following a positive trend on Wall Street on Tuesday and in Asia Pacific markets overnight.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.9% by early afternoon trade, with autos adding 2.5% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that there had been progress in talks over a post-Brexit trade agreement with the U.K. and the next few days would be “decisive,” offering a boost for stocks early in the session. Sterling and the euro both jumped on the remarks, hitting $1.35 and $1.22 respectively.
The positive trend had been set for European markets after gains on Wall Street Tuesday, bucking a negative trend in recent sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed nearly 340 points, helped by a 5% jump in Apple’s stock, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.3%, snapping a four-day losing streak.
The surge in coronavirus cases is also a key focus for investors with several major economies, including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, changing Christmas plans to relax restrictions in order to curb a sharp rise in cases.