European stocks rise as recovery hopes offset second wave fears

The steriod dexamethasone may also help soothe markets in addition to being the first treatment for some patients suffering from a severe form of COVID-19

European stock markets extended gains Wednesday, as traders weighed coronavirus treatment and economic recovery hopes against fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infection.

Paris climbed 1.0 percent, while London and Frankfurt posted smaller gains.

Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower following a choppy session, with analysts citing worries about excessive equity valuation.

In Asia, Hong Kong closed up 0.6 percent but Tokyo fell 0.6 percent.

Oil prices retreated and the dollar was mixed against its main rivals.

"European equity markets were showing respectable gains for much of the session but trading ranges were small as there wasn't much in terms of news flow to inspire traders," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

Madden said investors were heartened by a clinical trial showing that dexamethasone -- a low-dose steroid -- was an effective treatment for coronavirus.

The lackluster session in New York came after Tuesday's rally in which major indices gained around two percent following surprisingly good retail sales data and a positive clinical study of a coronavirus treatment.

But investors have become skeptical of the market's buoyancy, weighing a still-weak economic picture against continued pledges for additional support from the Federal Reserve that are reassuring but also underscore the vulnerability of the economy, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

The "market has made a big run in a short amount of time in the face of a really tough economic climate," O'Hare said, adding indices are "due for a cooling-off period."

O'Hare said a catalyst for the late selling was an interview with investor Jeremy Grantham who warned on CNBC that the US is forming a stock bubble.

Investors are also monitoring disturbing coronavirus trends in several US states, including Florida and Texas, as well as a new outbreak in China and rising deaths in Brazil and India.

Aside from the coronavirus, investors were tracking developments on the Korean peninsula after the North blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang threatened to bolster its military presence in and around the Demilitarized Zone and rejected an offer from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to send envoys for talks.

- Key figures around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 26,119.61 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,113.49 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 9,910.53 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,253.25 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 12,382.14 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 4,995.97 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,267.26 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,455.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 24,481.41 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 2,935.87 (close)

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.1 percent at $37.96 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.7 percent at $40.71 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1242 from $1.1264 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.97 yen from 107.32

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2551 from $1.2573

Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.54 from 89.58 pence

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