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European shares steady ahead of Fed's expected rate hike

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By Reuters
European shares steady ahead of Fed's expected rate hike
FILE PHOTO: A trader speaks on a phone in front of the German share price index DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach   -   Copyright  Kai Pfaffenbach(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – European shares broadly held their ground on Wednesday morning following limited gains on Asian stock markets ahead of a widely expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve in the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> was down 0.03 percent by 0717 GMT after rising during the previous session with energy stocks buoyed by Brent crude prices at four-year highs.

The top gainer on the STOXX was France’s Bouygues <BOUY.PA> after the stock was upgraded to overweight by JP Morgan.

A rating cut by Barclays prompted the worst lost of the index with Belgium’s Telenet <TNET.BR> down 4.6 percent.

In the banking sector, Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> lost 1.4 percent after a report said it has looked at a theoretical scenario of merging with UBS <UBSG.S>. The Swiss bank lost 1.5 percent.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Andrew Heavens)