Por Shreyashi Sanyal

Nov 5 (Reuters) – European stocks closed for another week higher on Friday, led by gains in the travel sector following a positive update from US drugmaker Pfizer on its COVID-19 pill and amid lingering optimism about corporate earnings season.

* The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the session flat, but posted a 1.7% weekly advance, its fifth consecutive week in green.

* European travel stocks improved 1.4% as investors around the world applauded Pfizer Inc.’s trial of an experimental antiviral pill against COVID-19 that was shown to reduce the risk of developing a serious illness in a 89%.

* The news boosted shares in Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry by 10.1%, to their best day since November 9, 2020, although it pushed AstraZeneca shares down.

* “Today’s news in the United States that Pfizer has developed a COVID-19 pill, which is 89% effective in preventing hospitalization, could be affecting AstraZeneca’s share price a bit, but it sped up quite a bit to the airline and hospitality industry, “said Michael Hewson, CMC Markets chief market analyst.

* The French benchmark CAC 40 index rose 0.8% and broke the 7,000 point barrier for the first time. The featured stock measure was led by earnings from Kering, Hermès and L’Oreal.

* The German DAX reversed initial declines to hit new peaks as investors ignored disappointing industrial production data from Europe’s largest economy.

* A rally in London-listed banks, which fell following the Bank of England’s unexpected decision on Thursday to hold interest rates, sent Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.3%.

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