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European shares edge higher before votes on Brexit process

European shares edge higher before votes on Brexit process
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Staff Copyright STAFF(Reuters)
Copyright STAFF(Reuters)
By Reuters
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(Reuters) - European shares rose slightly on Wednesday after five straight says of losses, as a flurry of dealmaking news from the region's car makers helped outweigh global growth fears and uncertainty over Brexit.

The pan-region STOXX 600 index edged up 0.1 percent with support from a more than 1 percent rise in auto stocks while defensives utilities, food & beverage and healthcare showed a bit of fatigue after rallying in the last few days.

London's FTSE 100 outperformed the rest of its peers ahead of a closely watched vote by British lawmakers at 1900 GMT on a range of options on how to clear the political impasse over Brexit.

Hopes that Prime Minister Theresa May's twice-defeated divorce deal would gain some support offered a measure of support.

The auto sector could pull put of five-straight sessions of losses with Fiat Chrysler leading gains after a Financial Times report indicated that French carmaker Renault is eyeing a bid for the company.

Daimler AG's rose 1.3 percent after it said it was nearing the sale of a 50 percent stake in its small-car brand Smart to China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.

The healthcare index slipped with Merck KGaA down 0.6 percent after the German pharma group launched a hostile $5.9 billion all-cash takeover offer for Versum Materials to boost its presence in the semiconductor materials market and sideline a rival bidder.

Swedbank fell 3.8 percent after a report that the Swedish lender may have withheld information from U.S. authorities over suspicious financial transactions.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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