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Europe midday: Shares lower on rate comments, German IFO survey

(Sharecast News) - European shares were lower at midday in the week before Christmas as a weak session in Asia, hawkish comments from central bankers and a weak German business survey put a dampener on festive spirits. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index had clawed back some morning losses to be down 0.7% at 476.28 with all major regional bourses lower with Britain's FTSE 100 the exception, gaining 0.6%.

"Markets look to be picking up on downbeat comments from the US Federal Reserve, with weakness across Asia overnight following through into losses on UK and European futures contracts so far this morning," said Steve Clayton, head of equity funds at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"It is too early to be talking of rate cuts said John Williams, President of the New York Fed. That burst a few traders' bubbles, coming after a week which saw US bond yields tumbling in anticipation of rate cuts in 2024."

In economic news, the business climate in Germany unexpectedly declined in December, with indicators for both current conditions and future confidence slipping. Germany's DAX index was down 0.33%.

The IFO Institute's Business Climate index, which surveys around 9,000 manufacturing, services, trade and construction companies across Germany each month, fell to 86.4 this month from a downwardly revised 87.2 in November.

This was below the consensus forecast of 87.8 and the lowest reading in three months.

In equity news, Games Workshop made gains as it signed a deal with Amazon to develop its Warhammer game into films and TV series.

Vodafone surged to the top of the Stoxx after Iliad said it had submitted a proposal to merge their Italian businesses, adding the project had the unanimous support of its board of directors.

Entain gained after Jefferies upgraded the sports betting firm's rating to 'buy' from 'hold'.

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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