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European Markets Accelerate Higher After Positive Open On Wall Street

The European markets bounced back on Wednesday, following Tuesday's pullback. Early gains were relatively modest, but the markets accelerated higher in the afternoon following the positive open on Wall Street.

Retailers provided a boost across the pond after British retailer Next increased its full year forecast. Chip suppliers like AMS also turned in a strong performance.

Meanwhile, new rules for the region's financial markets, known as Mifid II, went into effect and the euro edged lower for the first time in six days.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.52 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks increased 0.56 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.44 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.83 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 0.81 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.30 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 1.03 percent.

In Frankfurt, HeidelbergCement rose 1.53 percent. The building materials company said the significant reduction of the effective tax rate in the U.S. will have a positive effect on group net profit and cashflow starting in the year 2019.

In Paris, Airbus Group advanced 1.66 percent amid reports that the aircraft manufacturer had delivered over 700 aircraft in 2017, meeting its core industrial target for the year.

In London, retailer Next Plc soared 6.64 percent after raising its full-year profit guidance.

Marks and Spencer rose 1.68 percent after selling its Hong Kong and Macau operations.

AkzoNobel advanced 1.27 percent in Amsterdam after appointing Arcadis's Vree as CFO of its specialty chemicals business. Arcadis NV shares climbed 1.10 percent.

Addex Therapeutics surged 32.75 percent in Zurich. The company has signed a licensing and collaboration agreement with Indivior for global development and commercialization of ADX71441 for the treatment of addiction. Indivior increased 1.27 percent in London.

Apple supplier AMS gained 6.59 percent after a rally in technology companies boosted U.S. stocks to record highs overnight.

Germany's unemployment decreased notably and the rate hit a record low in December as companies raised employment amid improving economic conditions.

The number of people out of work declined 29,000 in December from November, when it fell 20,000. The decrease was more than double the expected drop of 13,000.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at a record low 5.5 percent in December.

Germany's unemployment rate decreased slightly in November, figures from Destatis showed Wednesday. The jobless rate fell slightly to an adjusted 3.6 percent in November from 3.7 percent in October.

UK construction activity grew at a slower pace in December, survey results from IHS Markit showed Wednesday. The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell more-than-expected to 52.2 in December from 53.1 in November. The expected score was 53.0.

Reflecting strong expansions in new orders and production, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Wednesday showing growth in U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in the month of December.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index rose to 59.7 in December from 58.2 in November, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 58.1.

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