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European Shares Lackluster As Earnings Pour In

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European stocks were subdued on Thursday as corporate earnings started trickling out and investors eyed the latest ECB minutes for signs whether the central bank will start withdrawing its stimulus policies earlier than expected.

Encouraging data from Germany and France helped to limit regional losses to some extent.

The German economy expanded at the fastest pace in six years in 2017, data from Destatis showed today. GDP grew 2.2 percent in 2017 after expanding 1.9 percent in 2016. This was the fastest growth since 2011.

Likewise, France's economy expanded at a faster pace in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Bank of France survey.

Gross domestic product is likely to have expanded 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, revised up from 0.5 projected earlier.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.1 percent at 398.08 in late opening deals after declining 0.4 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 were also down about 0.1 percent each while France's CAC 40 was little changed with a positive bias.

Swiss luxury goods group Compagnie Financiere Richemont rallied 1.5 percent as it posted 1 percent growth in third-quarter sales, despite weakness in Europe and Japan.

German auto supplier Continental gained 0.8 percent on reports of business revamp.

Sodexo shares tumbled 3 percent. The French food services and facilities management group reported that its first-quarter revenues totaled 5.3 billion euro, down 2.6 percent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Mining giant Rio Tinto gained over 1 percent in London after receiving a binding offer from Liberty House for its Aluminium Dunkerque smelter in northern France.

Recruitment firm Hays climbed almost 3 percent on posting double-digit growth in Q2 net fees.

Tesco shares tumbled 3.5 percent after Christmas trading results in its core U.K. business fell short of market expectations.

Similarly, Marks and Spencer Group lost 4.5 percent after reporting a 2.8 percent fall in like-for-like sales for its struggling clothing and home divisions over the Christmas quarter.

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