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European Markets End Higher On Brexit Extension

European markets ended mostly higher on Thursday, after the European Union extended the deadline for Brexit. However, gains were just modest in many of the markets in the region as worries about global economic slowdown continued to weigh on stocks.

Shares from airlines and hospitality sectors were among the prominent gainers in the market. Otherwise, activity was largely stock specific with corporate news setting the trend.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up by 0.06%. France's CAC 40 gained 0.66% and Germany's DAX advanced by 0.25%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged down by 0.05% and Switzerland's SMI ended 0.07% down.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain closed on a positive note.

Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden ended flat, while Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine declined.

Shares of EasyJet jumped more than 8%. TUI also rose more than 8%, while IAG gained nearly 6%.

Among the other gainer in the UK market, Royal Mail, Dixons Carphone, Persimmon, Ashtead Group, Berkeley, St. James Place gained 3 to 5%. Taylor Wimpey, Capita, Tesco and Experian also rose sharply.

Fresnillo plunged more than 7%. Standard Life, Aviva, ITV, Glencore, Mondi, Antofagasta, Astrazeneca and Marks & Spencer also declined sharply.

German airliner Lufthansa gained more than 3%. Deutsche Bank ended nearly 3% up. Covestro, Continental AG, Volkswagen, Wirecard and BASF also ended with strong gains.

In the French market, Atos climbed up more than 6%. Louis Vuitton gained 4.5%. Valeo, Sodexo, Societe Generale, Peugeot, Kering, Accor, Essilor and Unibail Rodamco also closed sharply higher.

On Brexit front, the European Union has extended the deadline for Brexit to October 31, 2019. The extension has helped avert the prospect of the UK having to leave the EU without a deal on April 12.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her decision to delay the UK's exit from the EU. May said if the deal agreed with the EU was passed, the UK could leave the EU "as soon as possible".

But then, the UK must hold European Parliament elections in May, or face the prospects of leaving the EU without a deal on June 1.

According to reports, May and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn had a short meeting today.

In economic news, Eurozone house price inflation slowed in the fourth quarter of 2018 after remaining unchanged in the previous three months, preliminary data from Eurostat showed.

Final data from INSEE confirmed that France's consumer price inflation slowed to its weakest level in 17 months in March, coming in at 1.1%, compared to 1.3% in February.

Germany's consumer price inflation slowed in March, as initially expected, latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

The consumer price index rose 1.3% year-on-year following a 1.5% climb in February. That was in line with the flash estimate.

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