European stock futures tumble after Moderna CEO raises vaccine efficacy doubts

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Nov 30 (Reuters) - European stock index futures fell sharply in early trading on Tuesday, after drugmaker Moderna’s head cast doubts over the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Euro STOXX 50 futures dropped 1.7% by 0637 GMT, as a bout of risk aversion hit financial markets after Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times that existing COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the newly detected variant as they have been previously.

Futures tracking Germany’s blue-chip index and UK’s FTSE 100 fell 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

Pandemic-sensitive sectors such as travel, commodities, and banks slumped last week, when the Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa. Worries over a fresh hit to the global economy sparked the benchmark STOXX 600’s worst single-day performance in over a year on Friday and wiped roughly $2 trillion off the value of global stocks

While lack of fresh updates offered some relief in markets on Monday, European stocks are on course to end November with losses of nearly 2%. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)