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European Shares Mixed Ahead Of BoE Rate Decision

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European stocks were flat to slightly lower on Thursday as investors looked ahead to next week's talks between U.S. and Chinese negotiators for directional cues.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that President Donald Trump's economic plan is working, and the nation would not go back to socialism.

Traders also awaited the Bank of England's latest interest rate decision and the inflation report amid uncertainty about Brexit.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2 percent at 364.75 in opening deals after rising 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

The German DAX was down half a percent and France's CAC 40 index was moving down 0.3 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was rising 0.2 percent.

Italian energy firm Enel gained slightly after its 2019 core earnings rose 3.8 percent from last year.

UniCredit advanced 1.4 percent. The Italian lender reported that its net profit for the fourth quarter surged to 1.73 billion euros from last year's 801 million euros, reflecting positive tax effect of 887 million euros.

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal tumbled 3 percent after its fourth-quarter earnings missed analyst estimates.

Zurich Insurance rose about 1 percent after reporting a rise in FY18 profit and lifting dividend.

Sweden's ICA Gruppen surged 4.8 percent after it closed 2018 with "good momentum."

British foodservice management firm Compass Group rallied 4.4 percent after lifting its full-year growth expectations.

Travel company Thomas Cook soared 12 percent on saying it is conducting a "strategic review" of its airline.

French lender Societe Generale was trading on a flat note after cutting its profitability targets for 2020.

Siemens shed 0.8 percent in Frankfurt after the European Commission blocked its takeover of Alstom's rail transport business.

In economic releases, Germany's industrial production decreased for a fourth consecutive month in December, defying expectations for an increase, preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

Industrial production fell a calendar and seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent from November, when it decreased 1.3 percent, revised from 1.9 percent. Economists had expected a 0.8 percent increase.

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