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European Shares Mixed Amid Trade, Brexit Woes


European stocks fell from near six-month highs on Wednesday as investors monitored fresh developments in the China-U.S. trade talks and the Brexit saga.

Amid conflicting reports over the progress of U.S.-China trade negotiations, it appears that any trade deal would not conclude this month.

On the Brexit front, media reports suggest that British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a short delay to Brexit in a letter to European Union leaders today, ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

Traders also looked ahead to a Fed meeting later today and Thursday's BoE rate decision for directional cues.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.3 percent at 383.05 in opening deals, snapping a five-session winning streak.

The German DAX was losing 1 percent and France's CAC 40 index was marginally lower while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was trading flat with a positive bias.

German chemicals producer Bayer slumped 12.5 percent after a unanimous verdict by a San Francisco jury against the company.

Reinsurer Munich Re declined 1.7 percent after it issued a cautious profit outlook.

Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore fell around 2 percent on concerns of a delay in trade talks between the United States and China.

Satellite operator Inmarsat soared 17 percent after it received a cash takeover offer from a private equity-led consortium.

Kier Group dropped 6.3 percent as it reported first -half loss before tax of 35.5 million pounds, compared to last year's profit of 34.3 million pounds.

In economic releases, German producer price index rose 2.6 percent year-on-year in February, same as in January, official data showed. Economists had expected a higher rate of 2.9 percent.

U.K. inflation edged up in February to 1.9 percent from 1.8 percent in January, while house prices rose at the weakest annual pace seen in five-and-a-half years, separate reports showed.

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