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Financials

European shares rise on possible easing of COVID-19 curbs, vaccine progress

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

Nov 24 (Reuters) - European shares gained on Tuesday as a possible easing of lockdowns in France added to a brighter mood from encouraging developments related to coronavirus vaccines.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.8% at 0805 GMT, supported by gains in travel stocks and the oil and gas sector after global crude prices hit their highest levels since March.

France reported its lowest daily tally of COVID-19 infections since Sept. 28 on Monday, with investors now focused on a speech by President Emmanuel Macron later in the day when he may announce a relaxation of lockdown rules.

The country’s benchmark CAC 40 was up 0.9% in early trade.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.9%, with exchange operator Deutsche Boerse revealing that the blue-chip index will expand to 40 from the current 30 companies with tougher membership criteria.

Data showed Germany, Europe’s largest economy, grew by a record 8.5% in the third quarter, but the outlook remains clouded by a second wave of virus infections and a partial lockdown to slow the spread of the disease.

In company news, Phoenix Group Holdings fell 0.1% as the London-based insurer said it was assessing a range of strategic options for its European businesses. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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