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Europe shares end mixed in shortened session

European shares finished mixed on Wednesday with reports of an acquisition in the pharmaceutical sector helping the FTSE 100 to post slim gains.

Trading volumes were light in Europe with markets open for just a half day due to the festive holidays. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed provisionally higher by around 0.22 percent at around 12:30 pm London time. France's CAC 40 ended lower by around 0.44 percent with Spain's IBEX 35 finishing flat. Indexes in Italy and Germany were both closed throughout the day.

"It's Christmas Eve and the human beings that drive European markets, even those programming the algorithms are turning their attention to subjects far-removed from the daily price swings," Jasper Lawler, a market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a morning note.

In the U.S. on Tuesday, gross domestic product for the third-quarter was revised up to an annualized 5 percent. The figure was much better than market expectations and helped boost sentiment in Europe with shares closing higher. Jobless claims data for the U.S. is due out after the European close at 1.30 p.m. London time.

In Russia, the MICEX index was flat despite ratings agency Standard and Poor's warning late Tuesday that it could soon downgrade Russia's rating to "junk" status.

In stocks news, U.K.-listed Smith & Nephew saw its shares close provisionally higher by 7.8 percent after a Bloomberg report said that U.S. implant group Stryker is planning a takeover of the medical device maker.

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