European shares hit February highs on Wednesday, joining a global stock market rally on optimism around progress in COVID19 vaccines and U.S. stimulus package, while all eyes turned to makeorbreak Brexit talks.
The panEuropean STOXX 600 index and Londons FTSE 100 both climbed 0.3.
UK Brexit supremo, Michael Gove, on Wednesday said Britain and the European Union should have a smoother glide path to a Brexit trade after they agreed on the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol a major point of contention between the two sides a day before.
But others including EUs chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and UK PM Boris Johnson said a nodeal scenario was more likely with just three weeks left till Britains exit from the bloc. Johnson is to meet European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday in a last ditch attempt to seal a deal.
Globally, the SP 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs overnight, and Asia shares followed suit. MKTSGLOB
After Britain on Tuesday became the first Western nation to start vaccinating its population with the PfizerBioNtech COVID19 vaccine, Pfizer and Johnson Johnson made further progress with trials and regulatory approvals, receptively.
Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty