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European Shares Mixed In Cautious Trade

markets 111714 05dec19

European stocks struggled for direction on Thursday as investors were discouraged by mixed signals on a U.S. -China "phase-one" trade deal.

After a pair of weak economic reports underlined growing fears for U.S. economic outlook, investors now await the closely-watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report due Friday to see how well the world's largest economy is holding up amid a global slowdown.

Closer home, Eurostat will publish revised GDP and retail sales data later in the day.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.2 percent at 404.12 after climbing 1.2 percent in the previous session.

France's CAC 40 index was rising 0.4 percent while the German DAX was marginally lower after the release of disappointing data showing that Germany's manufacturing new orders declined in October, defying expectations for further increase.

According to preliminary figures, German factory orders fell a seasonally and calendar adjusted 0.4 percent month-on-month following a 1.5 percent increase in September, which was revised from the initially reported 1.3 percent gain. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent gain.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down about 0.15 percent as the pound continued to rise on expectations that next week's general election will not result in a hung parliament.

The pound hit a 2-1/2-year peak against the euro and a seven-month high against the dollar as polls suggested that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party would win a majority in next week's general election.

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis gained around 1 percent after issuing an update on its R&D pipeline.

Luxury stocks were rising, with Gucci-owner Kering gaining 1.2 percent on a Bloomberg report that it has held exploratory talks with Moncler SpA about a potential deal for the Italian skiwear maker. Moncler shares surged 10 percent.

Fund manager M&G Investments slumped 4 percent after the company suspended trading in the shares in its £2.54bn (€3bn) property portfolio, citing the impact of Brexit uncertainty.

DS Smith, a packaging company, fell 2.4 percent despite reporting record group profitability and return on sales.

Publishing firm Daily Mail & General Trust rallied 4.3 percent after it reported a 19 percent increase in underlying adjusted pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 30 September.

IG Group Holdings lost 2.6 percent after saying it expects lower half-year net trading revenue.

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