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Europe open: Shares down after ECB's Holzmann comments on rates

(Sharecast News) - European stocks were markedly lower at the open on Tuesday as comments from a European Central Bank member on the timing of rate cuts dampened sentiment. The pan-regional Stoxx 600 was down 0.71% at 470.8 in early deals with all major bourses in the red.

ECB Governing Council member Robert Holzmann on Monday said the bank may and hold off on starting interest rate cuts during the whole of 2024.

Holzman, who heads Austria's central bank, told CNBC at the Davos economic summit: "I cannot imagine that we'll talk about cuts yet, because we should not talk about it. Everything we have seen in recent weeks points in the opposite direction, so I may even foresee no cut at all this year."

Tensions in the Red Sea were heightened further when a US fighter aircraft shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen at one of its warships in the Red Sea, the US military said on Sunday night. Oil prices skipped above $78 on fears of supply disruption while Qatar said it was pausing LNG shipments in the region pending security advice.

In the UK, wage growth, excluding bonuses, slowed to 6.6% in September - November, down from 7.2% in the three months to October.

Job vacancies were 49,000 lower from October to December, down for the 18th straight data release.

In equity news, Lindt & Spruengli jumped after the Swiss chocolate maker said its 2023 sales growth beat market expectations, boosted by higher product prices.

Ocado Retail gained as the Online grocer forecast a return to positive earnings for 2022/23 year as the fourth-quarter revenues rose by almost 11%.

"Our trading performance, and our focus on costs, has translated through to our bottom line, returning to positive EBITDA for the full year," the joint venture said.

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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