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European stocks close slightly higher; Pearson down 28%

European stocks closed slightly higher on Wednesday as investors digested a number of corporate reports.

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 closed 0.18 percent higher with sectors and bourses mixed. The FTSE 100 was up by more than 0.3 percent after reaching a new high on Tuesday.

Technology stocks moved higher after strong earnings reports. ASML, the largest supplier to semiconductor manufacturers, was up 6.7 percent after beating net income forecasts.

Shares of Pearson, the British publisher, tanked on Wednesday, down by almost 28 percent. The firm cut its profit outlook for the next two years, citing "unprecedented" changes in the publishing market.

The Danish biotechnology company Novozymes beat expectations on Wednesday, announcing sales of 3.71 billion crowns ($530 million) in its fourth quarter. The firm also said that there will be 198 job cuts, of which 62 in Denmark. Its shares slumped almost 5 percent after opening higher.

The U.K.'s luxury brand Burberry was up 0.45 percent after reporting a better-than-expected performance in its third quarter, with retail revenue up by 4 percent on an underlying basis to £735 million ($907 million), Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was slightly lower, off 0.15 percent while the broader S&P 500 was down, barely, by 0.01 percent.

It is now clear that Prime Minister May doesn't want to retain access to the European Union's single market, but is willing to negotiate a free trade agreement with the other 27 countries. The carmaker BMW suggested following the speech that the U.K. should keep tariff-free access to the European single market.

Meanwhile, investors will be focusing on the U.S. as President-elect Trump prepares to take office. He told the Wall Street Journal that the dollar was "too strong" making it more difficult for American companies to compete with other countries.

Deutsche Bank is expecting a $1.2 billion impact on its fourth-quarter pretax profit after reaching a $7.2 billion settlement deal with U.S. authorities for toxic mortgage securities issues before the crisis. Its shares rose 0.49 percent.


The World Economic Forum continues for its second full day in Davos, Switzerland.

Data released Wednesday confirmed an increase of 1.7 percent year-on-year in German consumer prices in December. CPI rose 1 percent from the previous month.

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