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Europe midday: Shares give up gains on weak EZ PMI data

(Sharecast News) - European shares slipped into the red at midday after survey data indicated that the eurozone had likely slipped into recession in the third quarter of 2023.

The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index gave up early gains to be down 0.21% at 478.01 with all major bourses lower.

In economic news, manufacturing activity in the eurozone declined for the ninth straight month in December, according to new figures released Tuesday by S&P Global and Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB).

The eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose marginally to 44.4, from 44.2 in November. The consensus estimate was for an unchanged reading from the initial 'flash' estimate of 44.2.

According to the release, factory job losses extended into a seventh successive month, but finer details of the report showed that there were some improvements from November.

Two closely watched surveys covering China's manufacturing sector showed a divergence in economic activity in December, with official government figures pointing to a continued contraction and a Caixin Global report indicating a pick-up in growth.

The manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) from the National Bureau of Statistics declined to 49 last month, from 49.4 in November.

In contrast, the Caixin manufacturing PMI rose to 50.8 from 50.7 in November, ahead of the consensus estimate pointing to a slowdown to 50.4. While growth remains marginal, this was the fourth positive reading in the past five months.

In equity news, shares in Maersk rose after the Danish shipping giant said it still intended to sail more than 30 container vessels through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, despite an attack on one of its ships in the region.

The company on Sunday paused all Red Sea sailings for 48 hours after Iranian-backed Houthis tried to board its Maersk Hangzhou vessel. In response, US military helicopters were scrambled and 10 militants were killed and their boats sunk.

Germany's Hapag-Lloyd was also up, although on Friday said it had decided to continue diverting its vessels away from Suez and the Red Sea for security reasons, taking the longer route via the Cape of Good Hope. An update was expected from the company on Tuesday.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for

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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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