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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 rally despite MEast worries; Evotec, JD Sports slump

(Sharecast News) - European shares rallied at the open on Thursday as investors shrugged off boiling tensions in the Middle East. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.42% to 476.41 in early deals with all major regional bourses higher. Investors will be eyeing eurozone services survey data later in the morning and German inflation figures for December.

In the US releases are due on initial jobless claims and private payrolls.

Shares fell on Wednesday after a bombing in Iran killed more than 100 people and assassination of the deputy leader of Islamic group Hamas in Lebanon raised fears that Israel's war in Gaza would become a regional conflict.

In economic news, a private survey showed services activity continued to grow in China in December, with foreign demand for the country's services also rising.

The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index rose to 52.9 in December compared with 51.5 in November, climbing for a 12th straight month. The survey also noted that the rate of growth was the fastest since July.

In equity news, shares in German biotechnology company Evotec slumped after chief executive Werner Lanthaler unexpectedly quit.

JD Sports Fashion also nosedived after a profit warning, while shares in fellow UK clothing and homewares retailer Next jumped after the company lifted annual guidance driven by better-than-expected Christmas sales.

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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