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European Stocks End On Mixed Note

European markets ended on a mixed note on Wednesday, with traders largely refraining from making significant moves ahead of the signing of a phase one trade deal by the U.S. and China.

Reports that the United States will keep billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods in place until after the 2020 election weighed on stocks and limited markets' upside.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that the U.S. would maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until the completion of phase two.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.01%. Germany's DAX declined 0.18% and France's CAC 40 ended down 0.14%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and Switzerland's SMI advanced 0.27% and 0.14%, respectively.

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Spain and Turkey drifted lower.

Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Ukraine ended higher, while Finland ended flat.

Shares of Tullow Oil plunged nearly 16% after the company said it would take a $1.5 billion writedown. Earlier in the session, the stock rose sharply after the company announced that its fiscal 2019 group working interest oil production averaged 86,700 bopd, in line with expectations.

Provident Financial shares gained about 5.3%, riding on an announcement from the company that it continues to perform well and expects to report full-year results in line with market expectations.

d Tullow Oil plunged nearly 16% as the firm said it would take a $1.5 billion writedown. The announcement comes after the company cut its oil price forecast.

In economic news, UK consumer price inflation eased to a three-year low in December, which is likely to force more policymakers to favor a rate cut as soon as later this month.

Data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that inflation slowed to 1.3% in December, while it was forecast to remain unchanged at 1.5%. This was the lowest since November 2016.

On a monthly basis, overall consumer prices remained flat after rising 0.2% in November. Prices were expected to rise again by 0.2% in December.

Eurozone industrial production grew for the first time in three months in November, data from Eurostat showed. Industrial production grew 0.2% on month, in contrast to a 0.9% fall in October. Nonetheless, this was slower than the 0.3% rise economists had forecast.

The euro area trade surplus declined in November on weak exports, another data from Eurostat showed. Exports fell 2.8% on a monthly basis and imports were down marginally by 0.5% in November.

As a result, the trade surplus decreased to a seasonally adjusted EUR 19.2 billion from EUR 24 billion in October. Economists had forecast the surplus to fall to EUR 22 billion.

Germany's economy expanded for a tenth year in a row, but at the slowest pace in six years in 2019, preliminary figures from the statistical office Destatis showed. Gross domestic product grew a price-adjusted 0.6% from the previous year, when it rose 1.5%. Economists had forecast 0.6% growth.

This is the longest growth phase in unified Germany, Destatis said. However, the latest growth was smaller than its 10-year average of 1.3%. The latest pace of growth was the slowest since 2013, when the economy expanded 0.4%.

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