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European Shares Mostly Higher Ahead Of ECB Meeting


European stocks were trading mostly higher on Thursday as trade tensions showed signs of easing amid expectations that U.S. trade tariffs are likely to be differentiated by country and product.

Investors looked ahead to the European Central Bank's closely watched policy decision later in the day, although no major change in policy is expected.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.3 percent at 373.68 in late opening deals after rising 0.4 percent in the previous session.

France's CAC 40 index was moving up 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was rising 0.1 percent while the German DAX was down about 0.3 percent after a slew of disappointing earnings releases.

Akzo Nobel rallied 2 percent. The Dutch paints and coatings maker reconfirmed its 2020 guidance despite rising raw material costs and adverse currency effects.

Engie, formerly called GDF Suez, jumped 4 percent in Paris. The natural gas and electricity supplier reported net income Group share for fiscal year 2017 of 1.4 billion euros, compared to net loss of 0.4 billion euros last year.

Evotec shares soared 7 percent in Frankfurt. The company has entered into exclusive negotiations with Sanofi to accelerate infectious disease research and development through a new open innovation platform.

Insurer Aviva lost 2 percent despite reporting a 2 percent rise in FY17 operating profit and enhancing dividend payment.

French supermarket giant Groupe Casino slumped 6 percent after its full-year net profit fell to 120 million euros from last year's 2.68 billion euros.

Merck KgaA tumbled 4 percent. The German chemicals and drugs maker reported a 6.5 percent fall in Q4 EBITDA earnings and said it expects a further decline in 2018 earnings on a currency adjusted basis.

German luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss lost 3.7 percent and media holding company Axel Springer fell as much as 9 percent after unveiling their fiscal 2017 results.

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