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European Markets Struggle Ahead Of Fed Decision

The European markets ended Thursday's session with mixed results. Traders were in a cautious mood ahead of today's policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged later today, but the accompanying statement may shed additional light on the anticipated rate hike in December.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.19 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.26 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.24 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped 0.45 percent and the CAC of France fell 0.13 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.33 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.49 percent.

In Frankfurt, HeidelbergCement climbed 0.60 percent. The cement maker affirmed its FY18 profit outlook after reporting a 12 percent increase in Q3 profit.

Siemens advanced 0.58 percent. The engineering firm raised dividend and announced a share buyback.

Commerzbank jumped 5.14 percent. The lender reported a decline in third-quarter earnings, but backed its FY outlook and maintained dividend pledge.

In Paris, Societe Generale gained 2.14 percent. The lender reported a 32 percent rise in third-quarter net income on strong revenue growth.

In London, Hikma Pharmaceuticals jumped 5.61 percent after raising full-year revenue expectations for its injectables division.

Inmarsat sank 7.82 percent. The mobile satellite company has reported a drop in revenue in its major Maritime division.

UniCredit tumbled 3.81 percent in Milan after its third-quarter net profit fell 99.0 percent to 29 million euros from 2.82 billion euros last year.

China's exports and imports increased more-than-expected in October as trade remained resilient, despite escalating trade disputes with the U.S.

Exports grew 15.6 percent annually, the General Administration of Customs reported Thursday. Economists had forecast an increase of 11.7 percent, after a 14.5 percent rise in September.

At the same time, total imports surged 21.4 percent, which was faster than the forecast of 14.7 percent and September's 14.3 percent rise.

As a result, the trade surplus came in at $34 billion versus the expected level of $35.1 billion.

Germany's exports and imports declined unexpectedly in September, official data revealed Thursday.

Exports dropped 0.8 percent month-on-month, reversing a 0.1 percent rise in August. At the same time, imports slid 0.4 percent following August's 2.4 percent decrease.

Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise in exports and a 0.8 percent increase in imports.

The trade surplus declined to a seasonally adjusted EUR 17.6 billion from EUR 18.2 billion in the previous month.

France's merchandise trade deficit modestly narrowed in September from the previous month, figures from the French Customs Office showed on Thursday. The trade deficit fell to EUR 5.663 billion from EUR 5.701 billion in August. Economists had forecast a shortfall of EUR 5.83 billion. The deficit was EUR 4.884 billion a year ago.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits showed a slight decrease in the week ended November 3rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 214,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level of 215,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 213,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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