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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 hold gains amid thin volumes

(Sharecast News) - European shares held gains at midday on the last trading day of the year amid thin volumes and no real corporate news of note to drive trading. The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was up 0.22% at 479.15 with all major bourses higher after a mixed session in Asia.

Crude oil prices moved slightly higher after a fall in US inventories. Brent crude was trading just above $77 a barrel, still well below levels of the last two years despite geopolitical tensions and production cuts by major suppliers.

"The price has whipsawed this year as expectations of sluggish demand, inventory build ups and conflicts in key locations all amalgamated into volatility. The overall theme of the year though seems to indicate that heat has come out of the price for now - but that can change at very short notice," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

In economic news, UK house prices fell by a higher-than-expected 1.8% year on year in December, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday.

Expectations were for a 1.4% fall. Prices remained flat on a monthly basis.

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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