06:59 AM EST, 11/19/2020 (MT Newswires) -- European stock markets weakened Thursday afternoon, as traders discarded optimism toward potential COVID-19 vaccines for concerns that lockdowns and other business restrictions may become lengthier than expected in Europe and the US as infection tallies soar.
The DAX in Frankfurt was off 1%, while the CAC 40 in Paris was off 0.9%, and the UK's FTSE 100 was down 1%. The broad gauge Stoxx Europe 600 retreated by 0.8% as did the Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index.
On COVID-19 death counts, the US passed 250,000 Wednesday while the European Union and the European Economic Area consisting of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway surpassed 275,000 deaths. In Japan, new infection tallies in Tokyo hit an all-time high on Thursday. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country was on "maximum alert" and called on citizens to alter their behavior to reduce infections.
Even good news about vaccine candidates was not enough to jolt markets higher. Earlier Thursday, AstraZeneca (AZN) reported a strong immune response in older adults in its vaccine clinical trial, but the drugmaker's shares were trading down 0.1%.
Brent crude futures fell 0.7% to $44.02. Meanwhile, German 10-year sovereign bonds offered a negative 0.57% yield, slightly more negative than Wednesday.
The Euro Stoxx 50 volatility index rose 4% to 21.74, still indicating moderately above-average volatility for European stock markets in the next 30 days. The 20-mark on the index indicates average volatility ahead, while below 20 points to expectations for calmer markets.
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