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European Markets Recovered Some Lost Ground

The European markets ended Wednesday's session in the green, putting an end to its recent 7-session losing streak. The markets got off to a positive start after markets on Wall Street logged gains during yesterday's session. The European markets advanced further Wednesday afternoon, as markets on Wall Street have extended their gains Wednesday.

Media reports out of Germany also suggest that a deal may have been reached to form a coalition government.

Meanwhile, the European Commission raised its growth projections for the euro area citing stronger cyclical momentum in Europe and better than expected pick-up in global economic activity and trade.

In the Winter Economic Forecast, the commission said the currency bloc will grow 2.3 percent in 2018, up from the previous projection of 2.1 percent. Likewise, the forecast for next year was upgraded to 2 percent from 1.9 percent.

Risks to this growth forecast remain broadly balanced, the commission said. Downside risks were related to uncertain outcome of the Brexit negotiations and a shift towards more inward looking and protectionist policies.

Further, EU observed that headline inflation will continue to reflect the significant influence of energy prices and is forecast to rise moderately.

Inflation is forecast to remain at 1.5 percent in 2018 and to increase to 1.6 percent in 2019.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 1.97 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased 1.76 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 1.85 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 1.60 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 1.82 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 1.93 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 1.57 percent.

In Frankfurt, reinsurer Hannover Re rallied 2.45 percent after saying it was optimistic for 2018.

In Paris, Sanofi declined 1.20 percent as the pharmaceutical firm reported a significant decline in fourth-quarter net profit amid weak net sales and a tax-related charge.

Fnac Darty jumped 5.66 percent as insurance broker SFAM bought a minority stake in the consumer electronics chain.

In London, Tullow Oil climbed 1.36 percent after posting its first annual profit in three years.

Utility giant Severn Trent advanced 3.00 percent after reaffirming its full-year guidance.

Homebuilder Redrow rallied 5.39 percent as it posted record profits and revenues for the first half of its financial year.

Vestas Wind Systems jumped 3.39 percent in Copenhagen after the wind turbine maker said it would initiate a new share buy-back program of DKK 1.5 billion shortly.

Brewer Carlsberg tumbled 3.28 percent after its 2017 sales came in below analysts' expectations.

ABN Amro dropped 3.39 percent in Amsterdam. After posting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, the bank said that new banking regulations will have a significant impact on its risk profile.

Statoil climbed 4.61 percent in Oslo after its fourth-quarter earnings topped forecasts.

Germany's industrial production declined in December but the momentum was strong throughout the year 2017. Industrial output slid 0.6 percent month-on-month in December, in contrast to a revised 3.1 percent rise in November, data from Destatis showed Wednesday. Output was forecast to drop 0.5 percent.

French foreign trade gap narrowed notably in December, as exports grew much faster than imports, data from the customs office showed Wednesday. The trade deficit fell to EUR 3.5 billion in December from EUR 5.6 billion in November. Moreover, this was the lowest trade surplus of the year.

The French current account gap widened slightly in the three months ended December, data from the Bank of France showed Wednesday. The current account deficit rose to EUR 6.7 billion in the fourth quarter from EUR 6.2 billion in the third quarter.

UK house prices decreased for the second straight month in January, data from the Lloyds bank subsidiary Halifax and IHS Markit showed Wednesday. House prices fell unexpectedly by 0.6 percent in January from December, when they were down 0.8 percent. Prices were forecast to climb 0.2 percent.

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