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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 midday: Shares eke out gains ahead of Fed rate call

(Sharecast News) - European stocks eked out further gains at midday on Wednesday as investors digested US inflation and UK GDP data while awaiting a rate decision from the US Federal Reserve later in the day. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.20% at 474 in early deals with all major bourses higher. The Fed is expected to hold its benchmark overnight borrowing rate in a range of 5.25 - 5.5%, but investors will be looking at Fed Chair Jerome Powell's commentary for any indications on when rates might start falling.

In Britain, the economy shrank by 0.3% following 0.2% growth in September and versus expectations for a flat performance. Over the last quarter, GDP was unchanged.

"The UK is still mired deep in stagnation territory and a fast rebound looks unlikely, particularly given that interest rates are set to be kept on hold tomorrow, prolonging the pain for borrowers," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

"However, it does increase the likelihood that the Bank of England might cut rates earlier than forecast, although it's still not likely until the second half of next year, given that wage increases, although slowing, are still strong."

Rate decisions are due on Thursday from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

In the eurozone industrial output slumped more than expected to a three-year low in October, according to figures out Wednesday from Eurostat.

Output fell by 0.7% during the month, with the calendar and seasonally adjusted production index falling to 102.7, a level not seen since late-2020.

That follows a revised 1% fall in September and came in below the consensus estimate for a 0.3% decline.

In equity news, Entain shares were higher after chief executive officer Jette Nygaard-Andersen has resigned from her position with immediate effect. The company said it had appointed Stella David, a non-executive director, as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is selected.

B&M European Value Retail fell after SSA investments sold 27.8m shares in the discount retailer in a placing raising aggregate gross sale proceeds of £162.1m.

BAE Systems was higher after the defence manufacturer won a contract worth up to $8.8bn with the US Army to continue as the operating contractor of the Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HSAAP) with a base period of 10 years.

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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