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European Shares Open Flat As Euro Climbs After Hawkish ECB Minutes

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European stocks were little changed on Friday as the euro continued its ascent against the dollar to hit a three-year high amid signs that the European Central Bank may wind down its 2.55 trillion euro ($3.07 trillion) bond purchase scheme this year.

German politicians reached a breakthrough in talks aimed at forming a new coalition government, helping support underlying sentiment to some extent.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was marginally higher at 397.33 in late opening deals after declining 0.3 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX was rising 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was moving up 0.1 percent while France's CAC 40 index was little changed.

France's consumer prices increased at a steady pace in December, final data from statistical office Insee showed today.

Consumer price inflation climbed an annual 1.2 percent in December, the same pace of increase as seen in November and in line with the flash estimate.

Investors looked ahead to U.S. consumer inflation data and earnings from three of the biggest U.S. banks due later in the day for further direction.

Technology company Smiths Group rallied 3.4 percent in London. The company noted that the net impact of the new U.S. tax legislation with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be favorable for the company over the medium term.

GKN soared more than 24 percent after the British engineering and aerospace group rejected a £7bn takeover bid from Melrose.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV rallied 2.5 percent after the automaker unveiled plans to shift production of Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks from Mexico to Michigan in 2020.

Kering shares fell 1.5 percent. The French luxury goods company said that it proposes to distribute PUMA shares to Kering shareholders through a distribution in kind.

Societe Generale declined 1.7 percent. The French bank said the U.S. tax reform will result in a charge of $307 million to be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Vivendi lost over 1 percent. The media and music company expects its revenues to increase by close to 5 percent at constant currency and perimeter in 2017.

Germany's Bayer dropped 0.7 percent after reducing its direct interest in Covestro from 24.6 percent to 14.2 percent.

Energy and mining stocks were on the back foot after official data showed that China's exports and imports growth slowed in December in a sign of weaker global and domestic demand.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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