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Europe shares steady in pre-holiday shortened session

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 | 3:12 AM ET

PARIS, Dec 24 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady at the open on Tuesday, halting a four-session rally, while trading during the shortened session was set to be quiet with many stock markets such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy closed for the Christmas break.

At 0802 GMT, Britain's FTSE 100 index was down 0.03 percent, France's CAC 40 flat, and Spain's IBEX up 0.05 percent.

London's stock market will close at 1230 GMT on Tuesday, while Euronext markets in Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels will close at 1300 GMT. Madrid's market will also close at 1300 GMT.

With just a few sessions remaining before the end of the year, European shares have gained about 15 percent so far in 2013, boosted in part by central banks' massive liquidity injections as well as an improvement in economic data from both Europe and the United States.

"The rally should continue next year, Europe still has a big potential for a catch-up rally versus Wall Street," Saxo Bank sales trader Andrea Tueni said.