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Europe: Shares weighed down by disappointing updates, downgrades

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[MILAN] European shares steadied on Friday with disappointing company updates and broker downgrades weighing on the broader market, while pay-TV firm Sky rose on speculation of takeover intererst.

Elior fell 18 per cent after Europe's third-largest catering group cut its profit guidance, while media group Vivendi fell at the open after its third quarter results fell short of analyst expectations.

Their declines and weakness among industrial stocks weighed on the STOXX 600 index, which was flat at 385 points by 0824 GMT following a strong rebound in the previous session.

Shares in H&M and Inditex fell more than 2 per cent following broker downgrades.

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The pan-European benchmark index is down around 0.9 per cent so far this week, set for its second weekly loss in a row, as investors have been locking in profits following a strong year.

Outside the STOXX, Carillion wiped out more than half of its stock market value after the UK builder said it would breach its financial covenant and warned on profits for the third time this year.

Among the gainers, Sky rose 2.7 per cent after reports that Comcast and Verizon had both expressed interest in acquiring a significant part of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox's assets.

REUTERS

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