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02 Mar 2021 | 23:16

Europe close: Shares finish on a mixed note

(Sharecast News) - European shares finished the session on a mixed note, creeping into positive territory after a cautious start to the session as Asian shares fell overnight. The benchmark Stoxx 600 index gained 0.19% to 413.23 and the French Cac-40 was up 0.29% at 5,809.73, but the FTSE Mibtel down 0.78% to 23,083.55.

According to the 'flash' estimate from Eurostat, the European Commission's statistics office, Eurozone inflation is expected to be 0.9% in February, unchanged on January's year-on-year rate.

Asian markets slipped after Chinese regulators warned on the prospect of asset bubbles in overseas markets. Investors were also mulling whether the US Federal Reserve would act on the recent sharp rise in US bond yields.

Guo Shuqing, the head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said he was "worried the bubble problem in foreign financial markets will one day go pop".

"It was notable that while yields in Europe fell back yesterday, US 10-year yields held steady, which suggests a fair degree of uncertainty around whether Fed officials will push back harder, especially given the sharp rise seen in the ISM manufacturing prices paid data yesterday which hit their highest levels since 2008," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

German and French government bond yields rose last week on concerns about higher inflation.

In equity news, oil major BP fell as crude prices dropped on worries about a demand slowdown in China, while Fresnillo shares also slipped after reporting declines in gold and silver production for the year 2020.

Shares in Taylor Wimpey rose after the UK housebuilder said it would resume dividend payouts as sales and profits met expectations during an otherwise "unusual and volatile year".

Equipment rental firm Ashtead fell, despite forecasting full-year results were set to be ahead of its previous expectations after it outperformed the market in the nine months to the end of January 2021.

Shares in Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli climbed 3% after saying that it aimed for 6% to 8% organic sales growth this year thanks to pent-up demand after the pandemic hit its business.

German meal-kit delivery company HelloFresh slumped 8% even as the company reported fourth-quarter sales above market expectations.

Gambling group Flutter fell despite reporting strong momentum in the start to the year from its US operations, but warning of tighter European regulation.

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