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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

Europe close: Shares down as US jobless market cools again

(Sharecast News) - European shares closed lower as the post-Christmas 'Santa rally' fizzled out on Thursday as the US jobs market cooled for the second straight week.

The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was down 0.11% to 478.08 with all major bourses down after giving up morning gains. In the year to date the Stoxx has gained 12.52%.

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, indicating the labour market continued to cool.

There were 218,000 initial jobless claims in the week ending December 23, the weekly data published by the US Department of Labor showed on Thursday. This print followed the previous week's print of 206,000 (revised from 205,000) and came in worse than market expectations of 210,000.

In equity news Vestas Wind Systems gained again as the Danish wind turbine-maker won received a 1,089 MW order in the US.

Oil prices fell below $80 a barrel as traders eyed a resumption of shipping through the troubled Red Sea region by Denmark's Maersk.

"However, tensions remain elevated, with Middle East leaders warning about the conflict widening, with Israel's border with Lebanon, a worrisome hotspot, following attacks by Hezbollah. So, crude prices are staying largely elevated, especially with the US economy showing signs of resilience, boosting the outlook for global demand," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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