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Europe midday: Shares slip into red; Barratt slides on Redrow takeover

(Sharecast News) - European shares slipped into the red on Wednesday amid another dump of corporate earnings and trading statements, with UK housebuilder Barratt's agreed £2.5bn all-share takeover of rival Redrow among the major deals. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.20% at 485.76 in early deals with all regional bourses in the red.

"Market sentiment has been more "glass half full" as fresh comments from policymakers poured out about the progress made on inflation, helping lift stocks on Wall Street," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

German industrial production fell unexpectedly in December, with big falls in output from the key chemical industry.

Industrial production fell 1.6%, compared with expectations of a 0.4% decline, increasing the risk of a downward revision to fourth-quarter GDP. The figure compared with a 0.2% fall in November. On an annual basis, industrial production was down 3%.

In equity news, shares in Barratt fell after it announced its Redrow takeover. Under the terms of the deal Redrow investors will receive 1.44 new Barratt shares for their own stock which would leave them with 32.8% of the combined group and Barratt shareholders with the remainder. Redrow shares gained 13% on the news.

TeamViewer jumped after the German software developer reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and earnings.

Sainsbury's lost ground after saying in a strategy update that it plans to overhaul its supermarkets to focus more on food space as it looks to cut costs by £1bn over the next three years.

Smurfit Kappa gained after posting lower full-year earnings and revenue amid a "difficult" demand environment, but said that volumes returned to growth in the fourth quarter.

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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