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Major European Markets Close Mixed

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday, and most of the other markets in Europe drifted lower, as the mood remained cautious amid continued worries about the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic across the world and fears of fresh lockdown measures.

Expectations of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve and several governments across the globe helped limit the downside in markets.

Several U.S. states in the South and West reported their biggest one-day increase in coronavirus deaths Tuesday, fueling a bitter debate over the reopening of schools in the coming weeks.

Mainland China has reported 101 new cases of the novel coronavirus - the highest number in more than three and a half months, and Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned that the city was on the brink of a large-scale outbreak and tightened lockdown measures.

The Fed is unlikely to make changes in interest rates, but its accompanying statement is expected to provide clues about further stimulus plans.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.06%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.04% and France's CAC 40 gained 0.6%, while Germany's DAX and Switzerland's SMI ended lower by 0.1% and 0.04%, respectively.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey closed weak.

Norway, Russia and Sweden moved up, while Iceland and Poland ended flat.

In the U.K. market, Taylor Wimpey tumbled more than 8%. Barclays lost more than 6% after reporting a more than 50% drop in pre-tax profit in the first half of this year, and warned that the second half will be tough as well.

Hiscox, Smith & Nephew, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Evraz, GlaxoSmithKline, Meggitt, Informa, Lloyds Banking, Barratt Developments, IAG and Persimmon lost 2 to 4.5%.

On the other hand, Next and Smurfit Kappa Holding zoomed 8.2% and 6.6%, respectively. Burberry Group, HSBC Holdings, Associated British Foods, JD Sports Fashion, Aveva Group, ITV, Vodafone and Reckitt Benckiser gained 2 to 4%.

In the German market, BASF lost nearly 5%. Thyssenkrupp, Volkswagen, BMW and Deutsche Bank lost 2.5 to 3.3%.

Shares of Wirecard soared more than 13%. Fresenius Medical Care, Fresenius and Vonovia gained 2 to 2.25%, while Adidas and SAP moved up 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively.

In France, Capgemini spurted more than 6.5%. Kering gained about 4% and Schneider Electric moved up nearly 3%. Pernot Ricard, Dassault Systemes, Sodexo, Veolia, Vinci and Atos gained 1.2 to 2.7%.

Renault, Peugeot, Societe Generale, Airbus Group, Technip, Michelin and Credit Agricole lost 1 to 3.3%.

In economic news, data from Destatis showed Germany's import prices declined 5.1% percent year-on-year in June, following May's 7% decrease. This was the slowest fall since February, when prices were down 2%. The annual fall was largely driven by a 37.2% decline in energy prices.

On a monthly basis, import price inflation doubled to 0.6% from 0.3%. This was the second consecutive increase in prices. Prices were forecast to rise 0.5%.

French consumer confidence weakened unexpectedly in July after improving last month, survey data from the statistical office Insee showed Wednesday. The consumer sentiment index fell to 94 in July from 96 in June. The score was forecast to rise to 99.

Data from the Bank of England showed UK mortgage approvals increased sharply in June as the housing market reopened after the relaxation of restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of mortgages approved in June rose to a three-month high of 40,000 in June from a record low 9,300 in May, the data said. Approvals were expected to rise to 33,900. However, the latest figure was below February's pre-Covid level of 73,700.

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