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European shares flat as mixed earnings, U.S.-China tensions weigh

European shares opened little changed on Wednesday as a batch of mixed earnings reports and simmering U.S.-China tensions added to doubts about a swift economic recovery even as many countries eased lockdown measures.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat as losses in oil and gas sector .SXEP, following a recent surge, offset gains in healthcare shares .SXDP.

The global mood also remained fragile as U.S. President Donald Trump again took aim at China, urging it to be transparent about the origins of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On a busy earnings day, Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit (CRDI.MI) posted a 2.7 billion euro ($2.9 billion) loss in the first quarter after writing down loans in anticipation of the damage caused by the pandemic. Its shares fell about 1%.

Norwegian Air (NWC.OL) slumped 12% after saying it would sell new shares at a 79% discount to the latest traded price as it seeks to boost its equity in order to qualify for Norway’s government aid package.

Helping keep healthcare shares steady, Denmark’s Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) rose 2.1% and German dialysis specialist Fresenius Medical Care (FMEG.DE) gained 2.9% after posting better-than-expected first-quarter profits.

SOURCE: REUTERS. Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;


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