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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 lower on hawkish rate talk; Vodafone gains on Italy offer

(Sharecast News) - European shares opened lower at the start of the week before Christmas as a weak session in Asia and hawkish comments from central bankers put a dampener on festive spirits. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.38% at 475.12 with all major regional bourses lower with Britain's FTSE 100 the exception, rising slightly.

"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."

As trading winds down, there was little on the economic and corporate calendar to drive sentiment.

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 gained 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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