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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 open: Shares down on rate worries; Revamp plan lifts Barclays

(Sharecast News) - European stocks opened lower on Tuesday as investors fretted about the timing of interest rate cuts, while UK bank Barclays was in focus after announced in first major overhaul in 10 years.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.26% at 491.08. All major regional bourses were lower. Asia-Pacific markets also fell overnight, while the US was closed for the Presidents Day holiday.

Data from the US last week unsettled investors who now fear that interest rates may stay elevated for longer as the Federal Reserve, or central bank, takes a more cautious view on the downward path of inflation.

China's central bank cut the benchmark five-year loan prime rate for the first time since June but left the one-year rate - used for most personal and corporate borrowing - unchanged.

The People's Bank of China cut the five-year loan prime rate, used for mortgages, by 25 basis points, to 3.95%, more than the 15 basis points expected.

''The fragility of China's economy is weighing on minds as the country remains mired in a real estate slump with the latest attempt to stimulate demand highlighting the depths of the problems," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

"The sharper than expected cut hasn't done the trick of shoring up confidence yet. It's concentrated minds on the collision of concerns about the economy, from real estate debts to deflation to falling foreign investment. Iron ore prices are trading around three-month lows, as hopes that demand for steel could rebound have ebbed away."

In equity news, Barclays gained 6% after the lender announced a major operational overhaul including massive shareholder payouts, substantial cost cuts, asset sales and a reorganisation of its business divisions as annual profits fell.

Air Liquide was up as the French industrial gases company reported better than expected full-year operating profit and saying it had already reached its margin targets planned for 2025.

Anglo American shares fell after its Amplats unit said it may have to axe more than 4,000 jobs in response to falling platinum group metals prices.

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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