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European Markets Finish Mixed Due To North Korea Concerns

The European markets fluctuated between small gains and losses throughout Wednesday's session and finished with mixed results. Traders were in a cautious mood due to renewed concerns over North Korea, after it threatened to cancel an historic meeting between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

In a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korean First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan suggested that Trump must accept the reclusive communist country as a nuclear power.

"If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit," Kim said.

Kim pointed to "unbridled remarks" by U.S. officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton calling on North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons first and be compensated afterward.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.29 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.04 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.46 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.20 percent and the CAC of France rose 0.26 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.15 percent, but the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.23 percent.

In Frankfurt, Leoni climbed 2.59 percent. The provider of energy and data management solutions in the automotive market reiterated its FY18 outlook after its consolidated net income for the first quarter rose 19.1 percent.

In Paris, catering and foodservice firm Elior sank 13.97 percent after a profit warning.

Manufacturing group Alstom increased 3.77 percent after posting higher sales and profits for its 2017/2018 financial year.

In London, Burberry rallied 3.94 percent. The luxury fashion house announced another share buyback after reporting full-year adjusted operating profit above analyst estimates.

Software company Micro Focus International jumped 6.19 percent after saying the signing of a new $40 million (29 million pounds) licensing deal would help bolster its first-half revenue.

Homeserve surged 9.37 percent after UBS upgraded its rating on the stock to "Buy" from "Neutral."

Paddy Power Betfair rose 5.93 percent after it confirmed it is in discussions, regarding a potential combination of the Group's US business and FanDuel.

Mondi advanced 3.25 percent after it reported that its first-quarter underlying operating profit was 295 million euros, up 15 percent from a restated 256 million euros in the same period last year.

Eurozone inflation eased slightly in April, as estimated, final data from Eurostat showed Wednesday. Inflation slowed to 1.2 percent in April from 1.3 percent in March. The rate came in line with the estimate published on May 3.

Germany's consumer price inflation held steady in April, as previously estimated, final data from Destatis showed Wednesday. Consumer prices climbed 1.6 percent year-on-year in April, the same rate of increase as seen in March and in line with the estimate released on April 30.

New residential construction in the U.S. pulled back by much more than anticipated in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday. The report said housing starts plunged by 3.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.287 million in April after jumping by 3.6 percent to an upwardly revised 1.336 million in March.

Economists had expected housing starts to drop to an annual rate of 1.310 million from the 1.319 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report said building permits also tumbled by 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.352 million in April after surging up by 4.1 percent to an upwardly revised 1.377 million in March. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to edge down to 1.350 million from the 1.354 million originally reported for the previous month.

A report released by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday showed industrial production in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of April. The Fed said industrial production climbed by 0.7 percent in April, matching the upwardly revised increase in March.

Economists had expected industrial production to rise by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.5 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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