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European Markets Mostly Subdued Amid Cautious Moves

European markets are mostly subdued on Wednesday amid cautious moves by investors due to lingering worries about global economic slowdown and uncertainty about Brexit and U.S.-China trade deal.

Some of the markets in the region are off early lows, with a few even making it to positive territory on selective buying at lower levels.

The downside remains just marginal thanks to China's central bank pumping liquidity into the country's banking system. The market is also reacting positively to news that the U.S. Senate stepped off the sidelines to try to end the month-long government shutdown.

U.S. Senate leaders have agreed to vote today on competing proposals to reopen the government, the first sign of a possible way out of the shutdown.

Meanwhile, markets are looking ahead to the European Central Bank's monetary policy announcement, due on Thursday, and some crucial economic data from the region over the next few days.

The pan European Stoxx 600 Index is down by about 0.2%, led by losses in banking and technology shares.

Among the major markets in Europe, the U.K. is modestly lower with its benchmark FTSE 100 easing by about 0.22%. Germany's DAX is down 0.11% and France's CAC 40 is rising 0.13%. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.26%.

In the U.K. market, shares of FTSE 250 component Metro Bank are down more than 30% after the bank cautioned that its growth softened in the fourth quarter.

Smith is down more than 3%, NMC Health is declining 2.8%, Ferguson is down 2.1% and Centrica is lower by 1.6%.

Among the gainers, Evraz is adding 3.4%, Morrison is rising 2.3% and EasyJet is up 2%. International Consolidated Airlines Group and Tesco are adding 1.9% and 1.2%, respectively.

In Germany, RWE is rising 4.75%, Lufthansa is advancing by 2.3% and Deutsche Post is gaining 1.7%. Henkel is down by about 1%, while BMW and BASF are lower by 0.85% and 0.8%, respectively.

French stock Carrefour is rising 6.7%, bouncing back smartly after suffering a sharp loss in the previous session following a earnings warning.

Sanofi, LVMH and BNP Paribas are up marginally. Meanwhile, ST Microelectronics, Bouygues, Kering, Atos and Cape Gemini are lower by 1 to 1.4%.

On the Brexit front, former U.K. Chancellor George Osborne reportedly thinks that a delay to Brexit will be the most likely outcome following the political deadlock. Osborne was among those who campaigned for U.K. to remain part of the European Union.

Osborne, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said a delay to the official exit date would give the country the space to explore viable alternatives to Theresa May's withdrawal agreement. He also reportedly spoke of the possibility of exploring a second referendum.

May, who has ruled out a second referendum, is scheduled to present an updated plan for Brexit to parliament on January 29.

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