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Europe close: Stocks end mixed ahead of key risk events

(Sharecast News) - European shares struggled for direction on Monday as investors awaited a US interest rate decision two days later. "Today marks a lull before the calendar heats up with earnings and central bank decisions. As a result, we have seen quiet trading on both sides of the Atlantic," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"Equity markets have managed to hold on to their recent gains throughout January, but with so much in the calendar between now and Friday, investors are likely to endure a more volatile period."

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index edged up 0.21% to 484.84, but Italy's FTSE Mib dipped 0.48% to 30,223.61, alongside a 0.47% decline for the Ibex 35 to 9,890.30.

Investors would also be analysing the monthly non-farm payrolls report that was due on Friday, with consensus estimates pointing to 173000 jobs having been added in January compared to 216000 the previous month, and the rate of unemployment expected to tick up slightly from 3.7% to 3.8%.

In equity news, Philips shares slipped after the Dutch company said it had stopped sales of its sleep apnoea machines in the US after reaching an agreement with authorities and was setting aside €363m in the fourth quarter after recalling millions of the devices over the last three years.

Shares in Bayer dropped after the chemicals manufacturer was ordered to pay $2.25bn in damages in the latest and largest payout so far as part of the long-running court case related to an alleged carcinogenic effect of its Roundup weedkiller.

Ryanair shares rose even after the budget carrier cut its full-year profit forecast and posted a 93% decline in third-quarter net profit, as higher fuel costs offset revenue gains and after its flights were removed from online travel agents.

Brent crude dipped 1% to $82.53 a barrel, despite investors' concern over supply after more Houthi militant attacks in the Red Sea. Shell and BP made gains on the news.

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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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