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European stocks hover below record highs, Italy outperforms

European stocks were made tiny moves on Friday as trading volumes thinned into Christmas, although Italian shares outperformed on some positive company updates.

The STOXX 600 rose just 0.1 per cent by 0824 GMT, still on course to end a second week with gains and trading about 1 percent below all-time highs.

That followed record-setting gains on Wall Street after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said an initial US-China trade deal would be signed in early January.

European stocks have been less bullish this week amid fresh concerns over a no-deal Brexit.

While other regional indexes were flat flat, Milan-listed shares gained 0.7 per cent, led by payments group Nexi , which rose 2.8 per cent after Intesa SanPaolo said it was selling its retailers’ payment business to Nexi in a 1 billion euro ($1.1 billion) deal.

Other big movers include Royal Dutch Shell, which slipped 0.8 per cent after saying it expects impairment charges of up to $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter and trimmed its forecast for quarterly oil production sales.

Final reading of UK’s third quarter GDP, eurozone consumer confidence numbers are due for release later in the day.

Source: Economic Times