European Shares Mostly Higher On Recovery Hopes

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European stocks were flat to slightly higher on Wednesday as economic recovery hopes grow amid steady progress with coronavirus vaccinations and additional government stimulus.

Final PMI numbers were in focus this morning, with the Eurozone's services PMI increasing from 45.7 to 49.6 in March. That was up from a preliminary reading of 48.8.

Traders await the minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting for clues as to when the U.S. central bank might raise rates.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was marginally higher at 435.32 after rising 0.7 percent on Tuesday.

The German DAX slipped marginally, giving up early gains while France's CAC 40 index rose 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent.

AstraZeneca shares were down about 0.6 percent. The University of Oxford announced that it is halting the trial of the Covid vaccine developed by the company on children and teenagers. Roche shares fell over 1 percent.

Discount carrier Ryanair Holdings gained nearly 1 percent after trimming its annual loss estimate.

Royal Dutch Shell rose half a percent. The oil & gas company said it expects to make the first profit from pumping oil since the start of the pandemic.

Rival BP Plc gained nearly 2 percent and Total SE added half a percent.

Societe Generale advanced 1.5 percent. The French bank said it has entered into talks with asset manager Amundi with a view to disposing of the asset management activities operated by Lyxor.

BNP Paribas, Banco Santander, Lloyds Bank and Barclays rose about 1 percent.

Finland's Nokia Corp was moving higher after it concluded a multi-year, multi-technology patent cross-license agreement with Chinese PC and mobile maker Lenovo Group Ltd.

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