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European Markets Finish Mixed After Paring Early Losses

The European markets got off to a weak start Wednesday. Technology stocks added to their recent losses and mining stocks struggled. Weakness in commodity prices and concerns over the possibility of a possible U.S. government shutdown also contributed to the negative mood.

However, the markets pared their losses over the course of the trading day and ended the session with mixed results. Markets on Wall Street struggled in early trade Wednesday, but investors were encouraged by the release of the better than expected U.S. private employment data. Investors are looking forward to the release of the U.S. jobs report on Friday.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.10 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.25 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.14 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped 0.38 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.02 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.28 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.23 percent.

In Frankfurt, furniture retailer Steinhoff plunged 63.26 percent after its CEO Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect on allegations of irregularities in the company's accounts that require further investigation.

Thyssenkrupp lost 0.29 percent after its labor union gave the company until December 22 to agree to demands.

In Paris, Elior sank 7.05 percent. The catering group said it expects organic sales growth of 3 percent in the 2017/18 fiscal year.

In London, Legal & General Group lost 0.87 percent after it agreed to sell its Mature Savings business to the ReAssure division of Swiss Re Ltd for 650 million pounds.

Smith & Nephew rose 0.15 percent. The medical equipment group said it has completed the acquisition of Rotation Medical Inc., the developer of a novel tissue regeneration technology for shoulder rotator cuff repair.

Shopping center investment firm Hammerson tumbled 6.17 percent after making a recommended £3.4bn offer for rival Intu Properties. Shares of Intu surged 13.77 percent.

Insurance and travel specialist Saga plunged 21.40 percent after a profit warning.

EasyJet gained 1.26 percent after reporting an 8 percent growth in passenger traffic for November.

Nestle rose 1.24 percent in Zurich after it agreed to buy privately-held Atrium Innovations from a group of investors led by Permira Funds for US$2.3 billion in cash.

Novo Nordisk rallied 3.36 percent in Copenhagen after receiving FDA approval for a diabetes drug.

Anheuser-Busch InBev weakened by 1.44 percent in Brussels after JP Morgan downgraded its rating on the stock to Underweight" from "Neutral."

Germany's factory orders increased unexpectedly in October helped by demand from domestic market and non-euro area economies.

New orders in manufacturing climbed 0.5 percent month-on-month in October, but slower than the revised 1.2 percent rise in September, figures from Destatis revealed Wednesday. Orders were forecast to fall 0.2 percent.

Germany's construction activity expanded at the weakest pace in ten months in November, survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday. The headline Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 53.1 in November from 53.3 in October.

Employment in the U.S. private sector increased by slightly more than expected in the month of November, payroll processor ADP revealed in a report released on Wednesday.

ADP said private sector employment climbed by 190,000 jobs in November after surging up by 235,000 jobs in October. Economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.

Labor productivity in the U.S. saw a notable increase in the third quarter, according to a revised report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.

The report said labor productivity jumped by 3.0 percent in the third quarter, unchanged from the preliminary estimate. Economists had expected the increase in productivity to be upwardly revised to 3.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said unit labor costs fell by a revised 0.2 percent in the third quarter compared to the previously reported 0.5 percent increase. Costs had been expected to rise by a revised 0.2 percent.

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