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Europe: Shares led lower by tech, miners in broad risk-off move

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[MILAN] European shares fell sharply in early deals on Wednesday, joining a broader risk-off move with tech stocks falling under renewed pressure and miners hit by a slump in metal markets.

Declines were widespread with all sectors trading in negative territory. The broader market was also weighed down by a 50 per cent plunge in Steinhoff.

The furniture retailer said it would launch an investigation into accounting irregularities, its chief executive resigned and it postponed full-year results.

Tech stocks, the biggest sectoral gainer so far this year, fell 1.6 per cent, and miners were 1.5 per cent lower, helping drag the STOXX 600 down 0.95 per cent.

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Investors have been taking profits in the last few weeks following a strong year but in spite of the wobbles the pan-European index remains up 6 per cent so far this year.

Other top fallers included UK's Saga, down 21 per cent to an all-time low after a profit warning, and Hays , down 5.5 per cent after a downgrade to "sell" at Deutsche Bank.

A takeover agreement sent shopping centre operator Intu Properties surging 17 per cent.

REUTERS