US and European stocks advanced Friday on optimism over the chances of an EU economic stimulus plan and fresh hopes for coronavirus treatments.

Traders nonetheless continued to track rising virus infection rates and braced for next week's corporate earnings reports.

In New York, the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rocketed to another record, while the Dow and S&P 500 also gained.

The London stock exchange was 0.8 percent higher at the close, while Frankfurt added 1.2 percent and Paris was up by 1.0 percent.

Investors cheered remarks from the head of German biotech firm BioNTech to the Wall Street Journal that a vaccine candidate would be ready for regulatory review by the end of the year.

Analysts also pointed to a positive announcement from Gilead Sciences about clinical trials on remdesivir, the first drug shown to be relatively effective in treating COVID-19.

On Wall Street, airlines and hotel stocks rallied Friday, along with petroleum producers -- sectors hard-hit by social distancing protocols.

The prospect of a vaccine in the foreseeable future "is the kind of announcement that gives the market a bit of comfort that there is light at the end of this," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

On the downside in Asia however, Hong Kong stocks sank 1.8 percent as a fresh outbreak in the city prompted authorities to reimpose measures including the closure of schools.

"It's basically been a chop-fest this week," noted analyst Neil Wilson.

Gold, after hitting a near nine-year high earlier this week, eased lower in late exchanges as markets advanced.

The markets have generally displayed a healthy resilience to the rapid spread of the disease around the world, with hopes for economic recovery, easing of lockdowns and government largesse providing crucial support.

"COVID-19 case numbers will need to be monitored but the market seems to have developed a degree of herd immunity to these, at least in terms of headline risk," Wilson remarked.

In Brussels, EU Council president Charles Michel on Friday proposed setting up a five billion euro ($5.7 billion) reserve fund for unforeseen consequences of Brexit on bloc member states.

Analysts at the Dutch bank ING also noted that reticent EU members, not least the Netherlands, might "take steps towards a compromise on the EU recovery fund."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden set out an economic plan that includes massive spending on jobs and a hike in corporate tax rates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden set out an economic plan that includes massive spending on jobs and a hike in corporate tax rates Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

New York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 26,075.30 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.1 percent at 3,185.04 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 10,617.44 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 6,095.41 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.2 percent at 12,633.71 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.0 percent at 4,970.48 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.1 percent at 3,296.22 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.1 percent at 22,290.81 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.8 percent at 25,727.41 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.0 percent at 3,383.32 (close)

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.4 percent at $40.55 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.1 percent at $43.24 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1296 from $1.1285 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.91 yen from 107.20 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2620 from $1.2606

Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.50 pence from 89.52 pence